All Tommy wanted was to continue to play. It was a sunny summer afternoon and he had “stuff” he wanted to do. His mom came out and told him it was time to come into the house. She had lunch and chores he had to do. He definitely was on board with the lunch part of that offering! He came in and washed up for lunch. After he ate his sandwich and drank his milk, his Mom lowered the boom. He needed to clean his room and take out the trash. He argued that the day was so pretty he needed to go back outside. She refused and he stomped away. She tried to help him understand the balance of play and work but Tommy would not hear it. He flat didn’t want to do what she wanted. He was so angry. It seemed they did not understand or care about how he felt on the matter. Running upstairs, he began pulling together the necessities: a blanket, a stuffy, a pillow, and some other odds and ends. He informed his Mother that he was running away. He left the house and took a walk to the tracks. While he was out there a fierce storm was blowing in.
How many of us have done something like that in our lives? The prophet Jonah did also. God came to him and told him that as a prophet of God he needed to go to Nineveh and preach against them so that they might repent before disaster might strike. He refused. He left and tried to runaway from God. Unfortunately, there is no place we can run that we can also hide from God. God brought a storm that shook up the sailors and caused great fear. The way they responded to that storm is often how we respond to the hard times we face. What storm is God bringing to get your attention that you are going the wrong way? What warning signs has He already given and is still providing that you ignore?
Those on the boat responded in 3 ways. Which one do you use?
1. Seek after other gods. In great fear, the sailors began crying out to their gods. They were seeking help from the wrong place. An affair won’t fix your marriage. Throwing money at your kids won’t make them love you more. Alcohol cannot drown out the pain anymore than higher doses of medications can. However, these are the ways we try to fix the storms of love, family, pain, and grief. The most common storms are found in these categories.
2. Try harder. The sailors, after being told to throw Jonah overboard, still tried to fix the problem on their own by rowing harder. No matter how hard they tried they could not fix this problem. There was no reaching the shore. It was as if the very hand of God reached down and held the boat in the water. We make greater commitments. We go to conferences and counseling. We increase visibility at church. Trying to be better is like the sailors rowing harder. The Lord does not want your outward dedication. He wants inward consecration. A broken heart and spirit before God in complete submission to His leading is the only way to make it out of the storm.
3. Confess need and find relief. Finally, the sailors cried out to God and threw Jonah overboard. Had they simply done what had been prescribed from the beginning they could have had peaceful waters sooner. Is it not the same in your life? Seek the Lord while He may be found. Confess your need and fall into the arms of God.
Tommy toughed out the rain. He was wet, but he had his pride! Yet, when the lightning and hail began to hit close he decided to throw himself overboard and get back to the house. As he entered, his mother had a dry towel and a warm smile. Maybe she wasn’t that bad after all, he thought.