“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”Jonah 1:1-3
I remember a husband and wife who walked into Freedom That Lasts on a normal Friday night in March. I recognized the couple from church but did not know them too well. I introduced myself and welcomed John into my group. I got to know him quite well, and we seemed to bond rather quickly. He was eager to learn about God and desired to have a closer walk with Him. I remember his prayer requests turning from general things to specific things desiring spiritual growth. He did not miss a Friday night, and he had a smile that was contagious and infectious. I grew to love John and he was always encouraging me and asking me spiritual questions.
He quickly became a dear friend to me, and we would text each other quite often. I saw God working in His life and he was a joy to be around. He longed to spend more time with God’s people and started to attend more and more church services. John was running to God and had a desire to have a close walk with God. In John I saw a man who was faithful and was heeding the call of God in His life. I could see the joy of the LORD on his face, and he became burdened for others he cared about. John was not running away from God but was running toward the presence of the LORD. John went home to be with the LORD and is now in the presence of our Savior. I miss my friend, but I know I will see him again someday.
I can think in my life of the many times the LORD called me to “Nineveh”, and I went the other way to “Tarshish.” I remember trying to escape from the presence of the LORD and thinking I could get away. I am sure you can attest to this same scenario as God has called you and you chose to go in the opposite direction. We often think location and sin will keep us from the calling of God, but God is not limited by location as He is everywhere. We know that God sought Jonah and spared him in spite of His disobedience.
Are you running from God today or are you running to Him? Are you pursuing the presence of God or are you pursuing your fleshly desires? God is always calling and drawing us according to His will and purpose. Will you heed the call as John did or will you run like Jonah?