We looked at Jonah this weekend. Jonah was a prophet of God who tried to flee God's presence. He didn't want to have anything to do with God.
Jonah's story is about a man who is a child of God on a journey away from God.
But one thing that becomes clear in the story is that Jonah's journey away from God is a spiritual journey.
Let me share something with you that I think God has been impressing on me about the kind of spiritual journey Jonah is on.
When Jonah is running from the God he’s known all his life, God is at work in that journey. God doesn’t give up on him, even though Jonah doesn’t want to have anything to do with God and with what God wants him to do.
You and I have people in our lives who are on that kind of spiritual journey. They’re fleeing God's presence, and they're rejecting God’s purposes for their lives. Don't make the mistake of thinking they are not on a spiritual journey. They are. Think of all the spiritual journeys chronicled in the Bible where the main character is running from God--Saul/Paul, the younger son in Luke 15, David, Peter, and so many more.
Here's what I think God has been impressing on me lately: God is still at work in the lives of his kids who are running away from him. It’s hard on us when God's kid is also one of our kids or one of our close friends or even one of our parents. But God is at work. I think that’s part of the message of Jonah. And the work God is doing needs to be done and needs to be done on a journey away from him.
I’m not saying, “Don’t worry, everything will work out.” I can’t say that.
But I can say this: You can’t force them or pester them back to pursuing God. You simply can’t. And you really wouldn’t want to. Why? Because God is at work in the running, and what they learn in the running is likely something they learn while running.
So, knowing that you can't pester them back to God and that God is at work in the running, you're left with only one thing, the only thing you had all along. You're left with trusting God.