Pick-Me-Up: Jonah Days

“And the Tide Rolls,” ©Lynn Abbott Studios. Used with Permission.

Jonah days.  L.M. Montgomery coined the term in her classic children’s series.

And if you’ve lived for any amount of time here on planet earth, you don’t even have to guess what she means by it.  You and I simply nod, knowingly.

After all, we’ve all had ’em.

Sometimes, life hits us tsunami-like.  At such times, I throw up my hands and cry, “I’ve had it! I’m not going to stand here and take this. I’m running away from home.”

And much like my five-year-old self, I wish to pack my Mary Poppins’ carpet bag with all the essentials, and make my escape.

Yup.  Definitely a Jonah day.

Recently, my heart broke as I watched someone close to me face an emotional tsunami.

You see, her brother died of lung cancer the year before last.  Six months later, her father died; the culprit this time was prostate cancer.

At the same time, her twenty something, middle son–having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease–walked through major surgery and physical rehabilitation.  And early that same autumn, her mother died.

Then, as if to add insult to injury, her oldest son was diagnosed with lymphoma.

Jonah days…we’ve all had ’em.

Jonah day?  More like Jonah years.  In fact, it probably goes beyond old Jonah.  I think her situation might be slightly akin to Job’s. And like Job, she braves the storm.

I greatly admire her steadfast steps.  After all, if I were in her position, I’d probably start packing my knapsack.

Of course,  I do know that our heavenly Father is sovereign and that He directs all for our eventual good, (Romans 8:28).

But if I am completely honest, I have to admit that sometimes, while navigating my own Jonah days, I have whined just a tad from the back seat…

“Are we there yet?”

Truthfully?  I gotta admit that I have experienced the dead weight of fear and doubt.   Indeed, the road can seem treacherous and long; the path filled with obstacles and enemies.

At times like these, I certainly empathize with Jonah.

From a human perspective, Jonah’s fears and anger were justified; Ninevah, after all,  was a cruel culture that had more than once come against Israel.

If he followed God’s direction, Jonah would certainly preach to his nation’s enemies.  It was a dangerous call of duty. Thus, fear and anger filled Jonah.

He ran.

But he ran right into a horrendous headwind.

That’s actually the problem with running from God’s will.  In fear, you and I run heedlessly away from one set of problems to another.

Yeah, self-protection doesn’t work out very well.

When we seek to avoid the path God has placed before us, we not only encounter enormous waves but we face those tsunamis without the comfort of Abba’s hand.

“I do it myself” generally leads to bigger problems.

Yup.  Been there; done that.

Yet, despite my “runaway” tendencies, I do know better.

“I do it myself” generally leads to bigger problems.

Reading Jonah’s book, I see that fleeing from God placed the reluctant prophet in dangerous circumstances:  a storm threatened to capsize the ship on which Jonah had secured his self-protective passage.

In addition, Jonah traveled with people who were less than supportive. They were, in fact, most interested in protecting themselves.

And so it was.

The ship’s crew, in an attempt to save their own lives, drew lots to see who was responsible for their troubles. When the lot fell to Jonah, they readily threw him overboard.

But the “Hound of Heaven” followed His wayward child.  In love and grace, the Father hedges us even when we run.

Of course, it probably didn’t smell much like grace in the belly of the great fish.

But that is exactly what it was… Grace. Amazing.

Jonah’s panic had driven him deeper into the waves; he had attempted to drop Abba’s hand and find a human escape hatch.

Major fail.

However, God plucked Jonah from the sea and simultaneously arranged alternative transportation. God obviously had a plan for His runaway.

Sure, Ninevah presented an overwhelming task.  But Tarshish without Abba meant greater peril.

In this world, you and I will face tsunamis.  Most of us, at some time or another, will walk difficult and dangerous paths.

Waves crash; sharks circle.

But we can rest in this: Ninevah with Abba is safer than Tarshish on our own.

Indeed,  I am never safer than when Abba holds my hand.

“For Thou dost light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness. For by Thee I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall,” ~Psalm 18:28-29