Are we asleep in the Light?
That’s what happened to the prophet Jonah. He thought he could shut his ears to the mission God had for him, and fall asleep. What Jonah found out is he couldn’t hide from God no matter where he ran.
“What do you mean sleeping at a time like this?”
That’s what the captain of the sinking ship Jonah hopped aboard when he tried to run away from God asked.
In the midst of a powerful storm, which threatened to send the ship to the bottom of the sea, Jonah retreated below deck and took a snooze.
Do you find that as odd as I do?
While the desperate sailors shouted to their pagan gods for help, the prophet of the One True God was sound asleep. Jonah’s disobedience is what caused the storm, yet in the midst of the storm Jonah turned the volume of God’s voice way down. He took a nap while those around him fought to save their lives.
God gave Jonah a mission. Go to the people of wicked Nineveh and preach repentance. Jonah feared the fierce Ninevites and headed the other way. Guess Jonah figured if he closed his eyes and slept, his problem would go away. Or maybe he figured it would resolve itself without his help. Either way, he wasn’t about to go to Nineveh.
I’ve always found it interesting the sailors cried out to their gods to save them, while a prophet of God shut his eyes to those dying around him.
Just like Jonah, sometimes we listen to God’s voice and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes God asks us to do something we don’t want to do, like extend God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness to someone we feel doesn’t deserve it. And like Jonah, sometimes we shut our ears to God’s voice, go below deck, and fall asleep. Hoping the problem resolves itself without our help.
God sends each of us who call ourselves Christ-followers on a mission to bring the Light of his Word, the Good News of a Savior born in Bethlehem who grew up to be the Sacrificial Lamb, to a dying and lost people. Let’s not run the other way. Let’s not cover our ears. Let’s not head below deck and take a nap, intending to stay there until the great storm is over.
Maybe Jonah going below decks isn’t so odd after all when we examine our own behavior.
The singer Keith Green called this type of behavior Asleep in the Light.
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But as the ship was sailing along, suddenly the Lord flung a terrific wind over the sea, causing a great storm that threatened to send them to the bottom. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. And all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold.
So the captain went down after him. “What do you mean,” he roared, “sleeping at a time like this? Get up and cry to your god, and see if he will have mercy on us and save us!”
Jonah 1:4-6 (TLB)
I wish you well.
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