In the book of Jonah we see a man on the run attempting to distract himself from God and the call God has placed on his life. Jonah so desperately wanted to flee from God he literally, not just metaphorically, ran in the opposite direction in which God called him. When that didn’t work, he volunteered himself to be thrown overboard as a sacrifice to calm a raging sea – all to escape from God.
As we looked at the end of chapter 1 of Jonah, we found that Jonah had been swallowed by a great fish and was alone in the belly “three days and three nights.” Can you imagine this? I’m not asking you if you can imagine being inside of a fish for three days, I’m talking about being alone with your thoughts, fears, desires and God for an extended period of time. God used an extreme means of getting Jonah alone. God didn’t simply send the fish to swallow Jonah to save him from drowning, which is incredible to even begin with, but God used the fish to bring Jonah face to face with the reality he was running from. And that’s reality was God himself.
As we studied, the expression “three days and three nights” was an idiom in ancient Hebrew, the language in which Jonah was written. This saying could signify that the days at the beginning and end were only partial days, not full 24 hour days. Meaning that Jonah could have spent up to 72 hours inside the great fish, but it’s also possible that Jonah spent as short as 38 hours inside the belly of the great fish. Either way, Jonah found himself alone for an extended period of time. Nothing there to distract him or keep him occupied. No iPhone 6, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Tinder, no Snapchat, no Netflix, no television, no music. No other means of distraction—nothing but silence.
I’m terrified at the thought of being left alone for that long. Yes, moments of silence and aloneness can be extremely relaxing – but the thought of being alone for any amount of time can incite anxiety inside of me. Though we may not run and flee like Jonah in actual physical sense, but we do run from Jesus’ presence by keeping ourselves busy. We’re afraid to slow ourselves (mind, heart, soul) because we’re afraid to be alone with ourselves and alone with God.
What would it look like for you to take 10 minutes two times this week and simply make yourself available to God and see if there’s something He wants to say to you? Simply give yourself 10 minutes to disconnect and unplug from the world and get connected to Jesus, the one who holds the world together (Col 1:17). The goal in this is to reach a stillness of the soul for us to get an opportunity to examine who we really are. Reflect upon what we have or haven’t done. But ultimately, how in light of the Gospel we are free from having to occupy our mind and schedule with things to do to prove ourselves, but rejoice in the fact Jesus accepts us as we are.
Join us at the Living Stones at the University on Thursdays, 7pm in building DMS 110 and I’d love to hear how God has met with you during this time. Content provided from our website: http://jesusgoestonevada.com.