Tuesday, October 16, 2012

31 Days of Fear{less}: Running to Tarshish

The title for the first section of Jonah 1 in my Bible is “Jonah Flees from the Lord”. Those words kind of make me giggle on the inside, because we never can truly flee from the Lord. He’s always right here with us. Jonah thought he was running far, far away. Tarshish would have been a place “really really far away” from Nineveh, located somewhere on the coast of modern day Spain. So, Jonah may have thought that he was running away from the reach of God and that he would no longer be responsible for the message that the Lord gave him (I mean, Tarshish was really, really far away!), but we know that this is so not true. There is a promise that is contained in the words of scripture. It is found over and over and over again. It is the promise that God holds us securely in His hands, that He lavishes us freely with His unconditional love, and that He fills us with an unspeakable joy and incomprehensible peace. This doesn’t mean that things will always be easy. Many times we will experience frustration. Our weaknesses will seem so big and we may feel like they will overcome us. But God in our weakness is made oh, so strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9 reads, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

It’s in these times of frustration- these times when following God isn’t easy- when we aren’t on that “mountain top” experience after camp or a retreat or a really good worship service that we have to make a choice. It's in these times that we have to choose to live fear{less}. It’s when our friends are trying to convince us that disobeying our parents this one time won’t hurt, it’s when your best friend is talking about you behind your back, it’s when someone you love gets sick, it’s when you don’t make the team, it’s when your heart gets broken, it’s when things aren't going the way that that you've planned that we have to make this choice. It is in these times that we reach a crossroads and we have to make a choice: we can choose to trust like a child completely or we can choose to run to Tarshish, for whatever reason we might conjure. Sometimes we’d rather run away from our problems and decisions. We’d rather take the “easier” road…even if it’s not the choice that glorifies God.

But, if we lean on Him, if we choose to trust, even though it might be hard sometimes…I believe we will find moments of joy along the way. I believe we will laugh and cry and laugh so hard we cry some more. This doesn’t mean it will always be easy. Life isn’t always sunshine, daisies, sparkly things, and rainbows. But, I believe that at the end of the journey, when God has made us perfect, we will be able to look back with great thankfulness and joy that He gave us the faith to let Him bring us through. Isaiah 43:2-4 reads,
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; you are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you.
You are God’s precious child. He loves you and he is ALWAYS with you. I think sometimes we forget God’s faithfulness. It’s not that he stops being faithful, it’s just that we aren't looking hard enough. Just because we get a little scared doesn't mean we need to run away. It’s in these times when we learn what it means to trust God. It’s when we learn about taking the leap of faith. We learn what it means to “die” to ourselves and follow God wholeheartedly. It’s in these hard times when we have to give God ALL of the glory and we learn that alone we can do nothing. It's in these times that we need to chose to live fear{less}, free from the bondage of "what may". It's in these times that we need to make the choice to follow God completely- come what may- and trust that he's got this.

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