One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Jonah. God calls Jonah to a ministry and Jonah runs. He goes down to the nearest port and jumps on a ship heading to a city on the far side of the known world.
I don’t know about you, but there have definitely been times in my life when something like that has sounded very appealing. Sell everything I own, go somewhere warm year-round. Find a job that is completely mindless. Leave behind the stress of life as I know it.
Several years ago, I came across an article in the travel section of the newspaper called “Location Is Ultimately Irrelevant”. It was written by a man who loves to travel, and I found it insightful. Let me share part of this with you:
The prospect of a vacation can usually convince even the most downcast that life is worth living… but of course the reality of travel seldom matches the daydreams… When we look at pictures of places we want to go and see and image how happy we’d be if only we were there, we are inclined to forget one crucial thing: that we will have to take ourselves along with us.
We will not enjoy – we are not able to enjoy – sumptuous tropical gardens and attractive wooded beach huts when a relationship to which we are committed abruptly reveals itself to be suffused with incomprehension and resentment, or when we remember that our career is not heading in the direction we would like it to… what is essential to travel… is a calm heart and a satisfied mind, and an awareness that … our deepest problems and anxieties are not resolved by transporting ourselves somewhere else.
It is true, isn’t it? Jonah finds out that he can run but he can’t hide. Ultimately, we all have to face up to our problems. But we don’t have to do it alone. God has promised to love us and be with us no matter what.
Our prayer today is based on Psalm 139. Let us pray: Loving God, where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I… settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. You have searched me and known me and loved me still. Thank you, Lord. Amen.
Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash