Keep On Running to Him
Today, I am reading in Psalm 31 and I chose to read from The Message. David’s psalm grabbed my attention when he said, “I run to you, God; I run for dear life. Don’t let me down! Take me seriously this time! Get down on my level and listen, and please—no procrastination!” David was running to God.
As I was pondering David’s words I thought of another Old Testament character who ran away from God instead of running to Him. God told Jonah, “Arise and go to Nineveh.” Jonah decided to go in another direction and went to Tarshish.
When a storm came the men on the ship discovered it was because of Jonah and they waste no time in throwing him overboard. Jonah washed around in the sea like he was in a washing machine until a great monster of the deep decided to eat lunch. The giant fish opens its mouth, takes Jonah in and the jaws of the great fish slam shut, much like iron doors of a prison cell shutting behind him. Well, except for the warm fish guts.
I have discovered a truth, as a messed up person. When you run from God you always end up in trouble. A golfer once said about a putt, “When you make a half an inch mistake, you can have a 30-foot mishap.” Sometimes running does not seem like a lot, maybe just a little side-step or a little deviation from what He desires in your life.
It is amazing what people will do to run from God. They become busy at work, try to change the subject when God is discussed, procrastinate their decision to follow the Lord, deny they are running from God, become angry at God, or try to do good things so they do not need God.
The tragedy of running away from God is the fact that we cannot always run from Him because eventually we will run into Him. If not in this life, in the next, because every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord. I would suggest running to Him in this life rather than waiting for the opportunity on the other side.
When Jonah came to his senses inside the fish he stopped denying the fact that he was running from God. Something about floating in fish guts has a way of making you think through your situation. Even though Jonah got swallowed, his story still shows us the deliverance and mercy of God. The fish had every right to digest Jonah, but God said take him to shore and throw him up. The fish had relief when Jonah was gone. “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.”
You may be thinking, that does not sound like fun, and I would agree with you. It would not be fun to float in warm fish guts. I have watched the programs during shark week and I can’t even imagine the smell of the chum they use. But when Jonah’s feet touched dry land he was no longer running away, but he was running to God.
Jonah experienced the ride of his life when he was swallowed. Since Jonah decided to run he had to be taught a lesson inside the stomach of a fish. He realized he was loved by God and that he was going to receive a second chance. I am so glad that I serve a great big God who is a God of second, third…well many chances.
Inside the fish Jonah’s heart changed. He became better instead of being bitter. Jonah ran to God and renewed his desire to serve God faithfully, to live for others; not just himself, to recognize God’s true place in his life, and to understand God was the true source of his salvation.
As a messed up person, I have learned when I stopped running from God and began running to Him, I run right into His arms of forgiveness, mercy and grace. I was crazy and messed up when I ran, but he sent the “fish” in my life to help change my thinking and my heart towards him.
Today, I am no longer running away, but I am running to Him. How about you? Need to stop running? I wake up every morning and know that I need His mercy, love and forgiveness in my life.
David, asked the Lord to not let him down. I read the rest of the story and David’s prayer was answered. I can report to you as well; He has not let me down either. David closes Psalm 31 by saying, “Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.” Keep running to Him!