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40 Days of Prayer – Day 3: Gathered in Christ

As One Who Obeys

“But Jonah ran away from the Lord…” (Jonah 1:3).

It only takes three verses into the first chapter of Jonah to encounter these infamous words. God had given a mission to this prophet and Jonah responded by showing his backside to the Lord as he turned to run. Before we can even get to know Jonah on the most elementary level he is branded. His most defining title has become “fugitive” and his most significant trait has become “disobedience.”

Why does a person run from God? It can be fear, shame, distrust, or simply an unwillingness to obey. Whatever it is, it is a race away from God’s peace.

Yet the book of Jonah is about more than the disobedience of one man; it is about the tireless energy of God to pursue a runaway. Each verse of this tiny book drips with mercy—God’s mercy. God pursues Jonah. His pursuit is fueled by Divine Love. Love for a city that needs to hear his message of repentance and forgiveness and love for a trembling, weak-kneed survivalist named Jonah.

Maybe as you read this you are aware of a place in your life where you are running from Jesus. Possibly it is an avoidance of his invitation to intimacy as his disciple. It could be an unwillingness to serve him in a way he is calling you. Running from God brings a weary numbness upon the soul. The call today is to stop running. Turn around and collapse into the arms of the loving God that pursues you with Divine Compassion. Stop running from him and start running to him. The run to him will be the shortest you have ever made, because he is right behind you.

Randy Quate

Query for Reflection

Is there an area of my life where I am avoiding God?

Action Step

After a time of waiting on the Lord, journal what you sense God is saying to you about any area of avoidance and especially what the root cause of your evasion may be. Be reassured that His heart is filled with love for you.

Prayer Focus

Lord, help me stop avoiding your grace and truth in this area of my life. Help us in my meeting, yearly meeting, and Friends United Meeting to run to you, not from you.

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  • Annie Glen

    I wonder if my certainty of God’s presence makes me less willing to look at issues or tasks I am called to address. It isn’t that I am saying, “No,” and running away. It is more the idea of taking for granted I will have another opportunity.

  • Colin Saxton

    I like Randy’s notion of running toward God. Sometimes, it seems, this is most apt to occur when people are afraid or desperate…rather than for joy. I hope my first impulse will be to turn to God…in joy…rather than as a second or last resort.