“Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, ‘What is this that you have done!’ For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.”
There is a lot about the story of Jonah that I hate. It wasn’t until I was in high school and especially in university that the weight of this passage hit me – how similar to Jonah I was, deep down. I, too, held expectations on the LORD as to who did and didn’t deserve his gospel. I whined and wept when things didn’t go exactly how I thought they should. I essentially would take my ball and go home when God didn’t fit in my box or meet my expectations. Lessons that, if I’m honest, I’m still fighting through and learning, even today.
In walking through this book yet again, a new piece hit me – Jonah flees from the presence of the LORD and goes into the midst of a bunch of mariners of the world. These sailors had their own gods that they prayed to and expected to save them and answer them, especially when God sends a tempest after his chosen messenger. Jonah had chosen to descend into the very heart of these men…into the hold of the ship, to stay out of the way. How similar that many of us, in the name of contextualization or even missional living, look for every opportunity we can to delve into the holds offered by the world, attempting to hide amongst the world.
Yet, we are a marked people. The mariners knew this about Jonah because he flat out told them. The world knows this about true Christians because of how God has marked us as his own. Your true identity will be found out.
And, like the sailors aboard the vessel bound for Tarshish, those around us will wonder what in the world we are doing.
Those who truly have the light will never be able to hide it.
May the world be blessed by our obedience to the Living God, rather than standing back and wondering why we’re attempting to be something we’re not.
Be bold, Christian. There is no hold that this world has that will ever be able to contain you or the message you carry – regardless if you are openly sharing it or attempting to hide it away.