God always loves us. And being our proverbial great parent, He disciplines us whenever we have done something wrong, and that includes running away. However, the problem is that we think we are being punished for the sake of being punished – a wrong mindset a lot of Christians have. And that should be changed by evangelical churches, be it in Dubai or anywhere else in the world.
Back to Sea
Let’s pick up where we last left off – Jonah hitting the water and being swallowed by a whale, and the storm being calmed down. He didn’t blame the sailors for throwing him overboard. He knew that it wasn’t their fault – it was God who was behind the storm, and it’s all because he ran away. So when the wind howled and the seas raged, he knew that he should stop running away; he knew that it was time to go back to God.
Learning Your Lesson
However, God taking Jonah back is not as simple as welcoming him to the fold once again. He did something wrong, so he had to be disciplined. It was done not out of a sense of retribution, but a sense of love.
And when he disciplines us, he does so thoroughly so that he can bring us back to the right path. This is very much true in many stories in the Bible. The wandering of the chosen people for forty years in the wilderness, the capture of the Israelites by the Babylonians for seventy years, and David’s sin resulting in the death of his sons, his baby with Bathsheba, public humiliation, and being ostracized – these are all God’s disciplining. It’s necessary, because without it, there would be no lesson learned.
Realizing What You Once Lost
It is through coming home and being disciplined that we realize our mistakes and the fact that we could’ve lost the most important thing to us if we kept running away – our relationship with God. It is also when we come home do we finally understand that the reason why we ran away, the things we were running after – the wrong desires, the wrong relationships, the wrong company – were impediments to God, the one who matters the most. We realize that a life that is devoid or against God is not a life at all.
So, when Jonah asked God for forgiveness and Jonah took him back, he was restored and was once again tasked to proclaim His message to the city of Nineveh. However, unlike the first time when he ran away, Jonah obeyed and went to the great city to do as what he was told, for he already knew the truth that there is no life in running away from God.
If God is disciplining you, then that means he is taking you back. So brothers and sisters, ask for forgiveness for running away and accept God’s discipline so we can see that nothing else matters more than God’s love for us.