Obey! To comply with the command, direction, or request of (a person or a law); submit to the authority of. From the time we are little this seems like such a difficult thing. It is so hard to understand why I can't just eat as much candy as I want or why can't I stick that piece of metal in the socket.
As we get older it's why can't I hang out with him or her alone. Or why shouldn't I watch this or that. Some of us got a "because I said so" and others actually got a full explanation. That didn't mean we understood though. But we had to OBEY! Sadly some of us learned by disobeying. We learned the hard way what those adults were trying to save us from. Adults knew better. (usually :D)
Some of us had our aha moments as we grew up. Yet even as Christian adults we still struggle with obedience only this time it's with God. I could sit here and list a bunch of things I don't like to obey from the Bible! Can you think of any? Yet I know that as creator He sees far beyond what I do. And I want to love God.
If you love me, obey my commandments. John 14:15
Ok Naomi, so why the whale image?
My own life has had me thinking of Jonah. I know, I know...the Bible says a big fish. I get it, its just an image for the blog;). Jonah was a prophet. Yep. A disobedient prophet. A human. He knew and feared the Lord yet chose to ignore God's direction.
Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
Nope this wasn't a but God moment where in spite of us He saves the day. This was a because of us here come the problems kind of moment. God said...but Naomi. God said,...but_______ (insert your name)!
I wish God's instructions were always this clear:
- Jonah not only got to hear the word of the Lord (how many times aren't we waiting for that?)
- He got direction - He knew exactly where to go (Abraham didn't)
- A why! (How many times do we ask BUT WHY GOD?)
For Jonah it was clear but not something he wanted to do. That's a blog for another day. I however had been sitting on a move God had wanted me to make for a long time. Unlike Jonah it wasn't that I didn't want to go to the place God was telling me to I just didn't want to leave where I was. In the process of trying to serve in two places I was honestly helping none. Probably causing more issues in the process.
So what happened with Jonah's disobedience?
Glad you asked. A few things.
- He FOUND a ship going in the opposite direction.
- When you do not quickly obey God's instructions the enemy quickly provides a way in the opposite direction
- His presence on that ship disrupted everyone else's life because God sent a storm to get his attention.
- Your disobedience doesn't only affect you. It affects all those around you.(Look up Acan in the bible)
- He ended up isolated. Separated from life. Frozen in place. (me me me)
On the ship....asleep!
Jonah was on this ship moving away from God's purpose for his life and there was a storm sent by God and he was asleep!! Have you ever been going through life asleep. At church asleep. Doing "ministry" asleep. That's what happens when we are not being obedient and attentive to God. We are not awake to His word and his call.
This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Jonah ends up in the belly of this fish. And isn't that how it feels when we are being disobedient. Like we are surrounded by darkness. Nothing matters. Hopeless. Trying but not able to get anywhere. At least that's how I felt. Like God wasn't talking to me. I couldn't hear Him. And why would He talk to me! I hadn't listened to the last instruction He gave me!
And I was hurting people in the process. People I love! I had separated myself from everyone and yet was still going through the motions of the good Christian. Squeezing out every last drop without being refilled. My thoughts constantly tormenting me. None of them speaking truth. All of them taking me deeper and deeper into the belly of my "fish".
Finally we hear Jonah say,
"But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit!"
Why because Jonah stopped leaning on his own understanding and finally looked again toward the Lord. He prayed and vowed to the Lord his obedience. I have finally decided to walk in obedience. He stopped thinking he knew better. I have finally taken steps in the direction where God is calling me. Thankfully I love where I am going and yet it hurts to leave where I am at.
Restoration can be gross
Jonah was vomited out of that fish. Yep he had to go to through vomit before anything else can happen. Restoration hurts. Conversations are difficult. Taking ownership of people you've hurt sucks. It is all however a necessary part of obedience and restoration. Hopefully any thing you have damaged can be restored but that isn't always the case.
There is more to this story and I encourage you to read it but for now know that obedience to God has to be your priority as a Christian. Even when it doesn't make sense or when it hurts! That is what Calibrated Life is all about. Walking in alignment to God's word. Crazy enough I started this shop/ministry even in the midst of my disobedience. But God!
I'll end with this. No matter how big an experience, encounter you have with God know that until Jesus comes again we need to cling to Him every second. Jonah was a prophet and a hot mess. Even after this big fish experience he struggled and even questioned God's justice. And so will we if we do not cling to God every moment of every second of every day. We are that needy. Needy for God is not a bad thing.
In their hearts humans plan their course,but the Lord establishes their steps.