“God will be with you wherever you may go.” Joshua 1:9
When I first drew this picture, I accidentally put the wrong Scripture reference with it. Initially, I had Jonah 1:9, and after much debate with my husband, I finally realized that he was correct, and that this Scripture was actually found in Joshua 1:9. I actually wrote two different responses then realized that the two of them actually worked together to prove how far God will actually go for those He loves. The story of Jonah was only a confirmation that God is truly with His people – wherever they may go! I found it appropriate to leave both of my responses as they were:
Drawing this picture, I had only pondered the light-hearted tone of the pastel colored cars and peaceful rolling hills – leaving me with an overwhelming sense of encouragement as I was gently reminded of all the difficult places I have traveled in my life with God’s protection. The story of Jonah reminded me of my own story of rebellion during the earlier years of my life. These were the times where God continually provided me shelter in unexpected places, quite similar to the belly of a whale. However, when I sat down to write about this particular Scripture, I found myself surprised by how difficult it was.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t fill the pages of a book with testimony after testimony of God’s ability to turn hopeless situations around – even in them midst of rebellion. It was more that I felt the story of Jonah deserved a much deeper examination. I believe the story of Jonah can have two different interpretations – a man who faced two choices – to obey God and go where God was leading him – or to disobey God and still find that no matter where he would try to hide or escape – God, would in fact, still be there – reminding him of his original calling and purpose. Had Jonah obeyed God and went to Nineveh, perhaps his testimony would not have been as awesome.
There are countless examples of God directing His people to foreign and mysterious places that one can find in Scripture. However, there are two specific stories found on opposite sides of the spectrum of faith that I find worthy of comparison – the story of Jonah and the story of Joshua. One is the tale of the obedience of a man after God commanded him to step out and capture the great city of Jericho; the other is a tale of the disobedience of a man after he was commanded to prophecy in the lost city of Nineveh. Although the differences between the stories are quite profound, the end result was the same – God was with both men – wherever they went.
Joshua obeyed God as he circled Jericho for the seventh time, while sounding his trumpets. I wonder if Joshua closed his eyes on the last few steps, anticipating what he would see next? God met Joshua at his obedience, and the walls of Jericho went tumbling down. Jonah, on the other hand, doubted and feared God’s command, later realizing that he could not escape the Omnipresent Creator, found himself in the belly of a whale, headed to the exact same place he was trying to run away from. God had a plan for Jonah, and not ever his disobedience could move him too far away from God’s road-map for his life. Ultimately, God showed Himself present in the lives of both men. Neither Joshua in his obedience nor Jonah in his disobedience could hide from The Omnipresent Creator of the universe.
I have found myself in similar situation to both Jonah and Joshua. Whether running from the call God had on my life, or fervently following Him as He led – God has always been there. I am so glad that I have a Father who is faithfully with me – wherever I may go!
I wonder if Jonah knew
he was only wasting time,
instead of going where God was leading,
all Jonah did was whine.
I wonder if Jonah knew
that even if it took a whale –
God would get him to Nineveh –
His will would still prevail.
I wonder how Jonah felt
while in the belly of a whale he prayed.
I wonder if he realized God would still go with him –
whatever choice he made.
I wonder if he felt
that from his conscience he could escape,
instead of coming to repentance –
admitting he had made a huge mistake.
I wonder why it really took
the whale to barf him up –
why couldn’t God’s promise to go with him
have been enough?
God might ask us
to go some pretty scary places.
If we find ourselves in rebellion,
He might even have to chase us.
But He promised to go with us –
wherever we may go.
He’ll never forsake us –
if we refuse to tell Him no.
Don’t be like Jonah
and the long embarrassing tale –
of a man in his rebellion –
who wound up in the belly of a whale.
When the Saviour calls you on a mission,
don’t ever tell Him no….
be like Joshua who obeyed,
and took the city of Jericho.
We can’t escape the Master’s voice –
His presence is with us whichever story we may choose –
God is always with His children –
not a one will He ever lose.