And the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach and cry out to it the preaching that I tell you.- Jonah 3:1-2
We read in the book of Jonah how God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach repentance to the people there. But Jonah did not want to, so he went to Tarshish, which is geographically opposite to Nineveh. Running from God does not help us to be at peace with Him.
What happens when we go in the opposite direction from where God has directed us? What happened to Jonah? When he boarded a ship and headed in his own direction, a storm arose. Many of the storms we face in life are the result of our own stubbornness. In many instances, we have been disobedient to the voice and leadership of God.
The violent storm that came upon Jonah frightened the men on the ship. They cast lots to see who was causing the trouble, and the lot fell on Jonah. He knew he had disobeyed God, so he told the men to throw him overboard in order to deliver them from danger.
They did as he requested, the storm stopped, and a great fish swallowed Jonah. From the fish’s belly (not a pleasant place), he cried out to God for deliverance and repented of his stubborn ways. The fish vomited Jonah upon the dry land; and in Jonah 3:1, we see that the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. God told him again to go to Nineveh and preach to the people there. No matter how long we avoid God’s instruction, it is still there for us to deal with when we stop running.
God’s will makes us uncomfortable only as long as we are not pursuing it. In other words, we always know when something is just not right in our lives. Eventually we see that being in God’s will, not out of His will, is what brings peace and joy to us. We have to surrender our own wills, because walking in our self-centered ways is what keeps us unhappy.