Lessons from a Man on the Run

Dr. Charles Stanley

ExostlanleyRead | Jonah 1:1-17

We are told that the prophet Jonah bought a ticket to Tarshish in an effort to escape from the presence of the Lord and thereby avoid a God-given assignment. Probably none of us would book a flight to a distant land in order to escape from God’s presence. Nonetheless, good people actually try to run from God in many different ways and end up experiencing miseries similar to Jonah’s.

While running from the Lord, the prophet overlooked some essentials that we should all keep in mind. In the first place, he incorrectly assumed that fleeing from God would release him from having to obey. He probably never imagined how persistent the Lord can be when He calls us to a duty station. Eventually Jonah found it is impossible to run from God successfully—His love will pursue us, even to the depths of the sea in order to conform us to His will and His plan for our lives. God simply will not be deterred by our slippery disobedience.

Jonah had also overlooked the fact that the direction of disobedience is always downward. Scripture tells us that the reluctant prophet initially went down to Joppa. There he found a ship and proceeded down into it. And the next thing you know, he is plunging down into the depths of the sea—even down to the roots of the mountains (Jonah 2:6).

When you run from God, there is no hiding place, even in the bottom of the sea. Our entire life is always visible to the Lord. So instead of trying to flee from His presence, welcome it.