What can happen in a believer’s life when he/she tries to avoid God?
"…BUT YOU BROUGHT MY LIFE UP FROM THE PIT, O LORD MY GOD. WHEN MY LIFE WAS EBBING AWAY, I REMEMBERED YOU, LORD…" Jonah 2:6b,7a NIV
In 1981, a man stole a car in California. Police began an intense search for the driver and of this VW Bug. Surprisingly, announcements on local radio stations were made to contact the thief. The reason for this manhunt was even more surprising. In the stolen car, on the front seat, was a box of crackers that was laced with poison. Of course, the thief did not know this. The car owner explained that the crackers were intended to be used as rat bait. The primary interest of the police and the car owner were to apprehend the thief to save his life, not to retrieve the car. Isn’t that just like a believer who becomes disenchanted with God for a variety of reasons? He runs from God into an arsenic world hoping to find what he wants rather than what God wants. What does God do? He lovingly pursues the believer like Jesus did with the lost sheep. What does the runaway do? He tries to elude God’s rescue attempts. [Sermon Illustrations]
The car-jacking cracker poison incident is somewhat similar to Jonah’s story. What will God do to draw you back to His family and His will for your life? Jonah did not want to share God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness with the ruthless people of Nineveh so he ran from God’s presence and will. How foolish to avoid the very best plan for your life. For a believer to think that his/her way is better than the Creator’s way and then try to avoid doing God’s will by trying to avoid God is ridiculous. God will pursue you and it may not be very pleasant at the time. Please understand. When you are not regularly going to church or having a meaningful devotional, you may be running away from God. Your Heavenly Father loves you. When you know what God’s will is regarding your life, and you don’t like it, you will probably try to avoid God. You may be turning your back on God. This is backsliding. God will come after you because He knows what is best for you.
God has countermeasures when you are trying to turn your back on Him. Just like the car thief, you are in grave danger that you cannot see. He will go to great extents to turn you away from backsliding and back to Him. Look at what God did in Jonah’s life in Jonah Chapter 1. Providentially, God sent a severe storm and then had the ship’s captain discover Jonah deep down inside the ship trying to sleep out the death storm. Then God directed the casting of lots to identify Jonah as the reason for the storm. Out of all the men aboard the sinking ship, God picked the lot for the runaway Christian. Add to that the disgrace of being found out by heathen sailors who asked probing questions about his disobedience. God used the pagan sailors to remind the runaway what he believed. Top all this off with God providing “a unique submersible vehicle” to save Jonah from drowning and finally providing taxi service to dry ground after having been vomited up.
YOU MAY TRY TO FLEE BUT GOD WILL FOLLOW. In the above Scripture section, Jonah prays a prayer of thanksgiving. He is so grateful that God pursued him rather than ignoring him. God loves you so much that He will come after you as a policeman who knows there is a poison disaster awaiting you should you eat the crackers. Give thanks to God for loving you and caring for you, regardless if you try to avoid Him or turn your back on Him.
SOMETHING TO DO
What can you do for people today that you would desire them to do for you if they had the opportunity?
SOUL TIME PRAYER
Heavenly Father, I do not just desire to just be a responsible person but also a giving person. Help me to not just be good but to be Godly. Fill me with Your love, thoughts, and attitudes. AMEN.