The last couple of days I've been reading in the book of Jonah. We're all either somewhat or very familiar with the man that was swallowed by a fish. The thought occurred to me though: why did he run from God to begin with? Jonah wasn't a new convert by any means; this is the same Jonah that we see in II Kings 14:25 which reads, "....according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai...." Jonah was a preacher and the command that God gave him, to go and preach to the citizens of Nineveh, was not the first sermon he'd ever received from God. In other words, Jonah, evidently, wasn't exactly what we'd call "green". He was somewhat seasoned and had knowledge of God and the way God works.
All that being said, what made him think he could escape the presence of God? Is He not omnipresent? Does He not know our very thoughts? Even David said, "If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in Hell, behold, Thou art there." Jonah had an obvious fellowship with the almighty Maker and , therefore, would know that he could not escape his presence. Jonah did exactly what we do as modern day Christians: he ran and disobeyed knowing full well that God could and would catch up to him.
When our Lord seeks alone time with us and calls us to prayer do we go to our "secret place" or "closet" to fellowship with Him or do we say a quick "Thank you, Lord." just to ease our conscience? More often than not, we'll have our noses buried in our phones or computers seeking conversation with folks that barely know us instead of having communion with the One that knows us best. Also, if it enters our heart to tell someone about the goodness and mercy and deliverance that God has given and wants to extend, it is a knudge from Him and we shouldn't delay in doing so. What blessings have I robbed myself of in such disobedient acts? What souls have trudged uncomforted because of my own unwillingness to simply do what God has commanded? He gives us work and we bury ourselves in life, convincing ourselves that we have escaped the presence of God and/ or we're doing the right thing. Brothers and sisters: if "....death, nor life, nor angels, nor pricipalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God....", what makes us think that we can hide from Him or that we can run very far without Him catching up to us? Friend, wherever we go, He's already there.
It's our own pride that will lead us to stubborness and that same stubborness will lead us to disobedience. It is a great honor to be called a child of God, but we take that title for granted more often than not. It's a great privilege to have the Maker and Master of the entire universe send us to do His bidding, but we shrug it off as if it doesn't really matter. It astounds me that Jehovah God wants to commune with us, but He does.
Consider the privilege and honor that Jonah had to be a the instrument that God used to get His message(s) out! Yet, in his lack of humility, he chose to disobey. What did it get him? Misery and chastisement. Where did it get him? In a fish's belly--and God was there, too.