“Jonah: Man on the Run” is the title of a brief sermon series I plan to begin this Sunday morning in preparation for Hillsdale’s annual missions conference at the end of October.
Here is a question for you: Have you ever wanted to run away?
A lot of us might remember being a foolish child and, feeling mom and dad were not being fair, threatening to “run away” from home! I have heard cute stories of when siblings banded together and announced to their parents, “We are running away!” Mom and dad, being the wiser, expressed their disappointment in their children’s decision to run away, but also used the occasion to teach a life lesson–running away from home when you do not get your way never solves problems!
Perhaps your mom made some peanut butter sandwiches and dad offered to get luggage from the attic for you to pack in your little red wagon. With your sandwiches in a brown paper bag and your luggage packed with clothes, you announced again, “I’m going!”
Mom and dad dutifully expressed their sorrow to see you go, but also encouraged you, “Now don’t forget to write!”
Hearing the screen door close behind you, you began to make good on your “running away from home” threat until the security of home was just out of sight and the reality of life without your parent’s loving care was inconceivable. Of course, your mom and dad never allowed you to stray beyond their sight and protection and waited until you sheepishly returned home, saving face by announcing, “I will give you one more chance!” and mom replied, “Why don’t you wash your hands and get ready for dinner.”
My friend, it is sinful pride and rebellion that drives us to run…run from God, from home, from responsibilities and from problems. The reality is too many profess to be believers, but are running from God. Like Jonah, they find themselves caught up in storms God has directed their way to drive them to the end of themselves and back to Him. Many learn too late that, “What is best for you is not always what you think is best!”
What a blessing that, in the extremity of our need, we have this assurance from God’s Word:
Psalm 139:7-10 – “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”
I hope you will join us for worship this Sunday at Hillsdale as we study “Jonah: Man on the Run!”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith