I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.  Psalm 139:7-8

We are more like Jonah that we care to admit.  We see injustice.  We pray for resolution.  Then God, in his wisdom, sends us over to the enemy with a message of love, mercy, and grace so the Truth they really seek is heard.  “But God, they will not hear your words, much less repent and obey you!  Why bother with them?  “Lord, Don’t make us do that, say that, or be nice to those who mock us for our faith,” we respond with whiney defiance due to fear, anger or both. 

Like Jonah, we feel like running away from it all to avoid the confrontation, resulting persecutions, or other offensive behaviors.  “You don’t understand, God, how hateful humans can be!”  But then again, I was once lost and you brought me back. So maybe God does know.  Just ask Jesus!

Jonah 2, The Message

At the Bottom of the Sea

1-9 Then Jonah prayed to his God from the belly of the fish.

He prayed:

“In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God.
    He answered me.
From the belly of the grave I cried, ‘Help!’
    You heard my cry.
You threw me into ocean’s depths,
    into a watery grave,
With ocean waves, ocean breakers
    crashing over me.
I said, ‘I’ve been thrown away,
    thrown out, out of your sight.
I’ll never again lay eyes
    on your Holy Temple.’
Ocean gripped me by the throat.
    The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight.
My head was all tangled in seaweed
    at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root.
I was as far down as a body can go,
    and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—
Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive,
    O God, my God!
When my life was slipping away,
    I remembered God,
And my prayer got through to you,
    made it all the way to your Holy Temple.

Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds,
    walk away from their only true love.
But I’m worshiping you, God,
    calling out in thanksgiving!

And I’ll do what I promised I’d do!
    Salvation belongs to God!”

10 Then God spoke to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore.


God told Jonah to preach to the Assyrians in Nineveh. Jonah knew that if he preached to them, they would have an opportunity to avoid God’s wrath. Jonah hoped to see these enemies punished by God, so he ran away.  Jonah did not WANT to deliver God’s message to those he hated and feared.

Jonah teaches us the truth of running away from God—it cannot be done!  God’s dominion extends everywhere. And no matter how far you run, God loves you and wants to bring you back.  We disobey, but God has ways of bringing us back.  Why?  Because of His relentless, unending, unshakeable, unconditional love for each one of us.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Romans 8:35 NIV

Consider what has been done for us.  Jesus was tormented, whipped with metal chords, mocked, beaten, and then nailed to a cross.  The cross was then put in place on a hill for all to see to humiliate the perpetrator (the Roman way) although Jesus never sinned or did anything wrong.  But Jesus became sin by taking all our sins with him to that cross so that our sins could be removed from us—free from punishment and humiliation.  He paid our debt off in full! 

But that’s not all!  Jesus then went done to the depths of hell for us, victoriously defeated the enemy called death, came back to life by rising again on that third day—just as He said He would.  This is love.  Jesus never argued with God, telling His Father that we did not deserve it.  Instead, Jesus obeyed God and we who believe are set free.

Yes, this act of obedience by Jesus proved the full extent of God’s love by taking on the sins of the world then, now and for all the sins to come.  Paid in full.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Paul, stopped by Jesus, saved by grace on the road to Damascus, before persecuting new believers is Christ, had this to say about the love of God; 

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:31-39, NLT  (Emphasis mine)

Obviously, God’s love was very personal to Paul, who experienced the love of Jesus quite dramatically!  See the book of Acts for Paul’s life transforming story—all because of the relentless love of God!

So back to Jonah…God loved Jonah.  He made a way for Jonah to be kept safe until Jonah realized who loved him most with further realization that he must obey God even when he doesn’t “feel” like it is worth the effort.  In the wait, God protected him.  In the wait, God changed his heart.  In the wait, Jonah declared once more that God was his God and that he knew what He was doing.  In the wait, Jonah worshiped God.  In the wait, Jonah loved God back. 

“Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love.
But I’m worshiping you, God, calling out in thanksgiving!
And I’ll do what I promised I’d do! Salvation belongs to God!”

Then God spoke to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore.

Jonah is brought back to God by God in an incredible way.  After three days, Jonah is ready to obey the One who loves him most and best!


We run from you in all kinds of ways.  We procrastinate telling someone of your salvation as we wonder if they will hear and accept.  I have learned that it is you who picks the person, time, and place and we must obey quickly before the opportunity passes us by.  Thank you for speaking Truth to my heart today.  Help me to love like you love. 

In Jesus Name, Amen

Run to God, not away from God! 

And we’re singing…Glorious Day!

I was buried beneath my shame
Who could carry that kind of weight
It was my tomb
Till I met You

I was breathing but not alive
All my failures I tried to hide
It was my tomb
Till I met You

You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day
You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day

Now Your mercy has saved my soul
Now Your freedom is all I know
The old made new
Jesus, when I met You

You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day
You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day

I needed rescue
My sin was heavy
But chains break at the weight of Your glory
I needed shelter
I was an orphan
Now You call me a citizen of heaven
When I was broken
You were my healing
Your love is the air that I’m breathing
I have a future
My eyes are open

You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day
You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day!

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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