Run Pt. 2 | Jonah: The Astonishing True Story

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I have a friend who came to America from Haiti many years ago. His name is Franco Wakhisi and he is an incredible runner. Which, makes sense since he is Haitian. About two years ago, my then girlfriend/ now wife, Jessica, came down to the Keys to visit me one summer, and it just so happened that the week she was there was the week the Keys Ultramarathon was taking place, and Franco was running in it. So we get this phone call and my dad says, “Hey, Franco is going to be passing by our house. A bunch of us are going out to cheer him on, you should come too!” So Jessica and I went out to where our group of friends were waiting by the road to cheer on Franco. As he passed by us, he stopped to give sweaty hugs to everybody, eat a banana, put some lotion on his feet, and change his socks. He thanked everybody for coming and then shot off again. This guy, along with over 100 other runners, started that morning before the sun came up and kept running until the sun went down. My friend, Franco, finished a 100 mile ultramarathon that took 22 hours to run, and got 11th place out of 105 runners!

Talk about an incredible act of athleticism! This guy is a serious runner with serious determination! But really, we’re all runners, aren’t we? Just in a different way. At some point in our lives every one of us has done, or is doing the same thing as Jonah: Running from God’s command. At first, it was probably uncomfortable. You felt the conviction of it and you felt guilty. But that selfish nature inside of you wants you to keep going. And soon it started to get easier. And you began to have a selfish pleasure about it. But this kind of running doesn’t lead to healthier living. This kind of running, like with Jonah, leads to personal destruction.

Here’s the saddest part of it all. Jonah didn’t just run from God’s command to love people. When he fled, he ran from the very presence of God. You need to remember that. When God calls you to something, and you choose to run, you’re not just running from the call. You’re running from God Himself. because you cannot stay in His presence if you are disobeying His command. You can’t choose to rebel against his commands and still believe you two are on good terms. It doesn’t work like that.

When temptation comes, you’ve got to determine now that you will not run from the command. Determine now, that you will choose to stay by God’s side. 

But why? Maybe you’re asking what the big deal is anyway. I mean, you’re comfortable with your spirituality now, right? At least you’re not as bad as most of the others kids at school, right? But that’s the thing about your relationship with God; He’s not comparing you to the other kids. Your relationship with Him is personal. So while you may think you’re ok because you’re better than so-and-so, God isn’t feeling the same. It’s like a husband saying his marriage is amazing while the wife says they’re just barely surviving.

Next post we’re going to jump into the first verses of Jonah’s story, and I’m going to explain the why: Why should I even want to stay by God’s side if He’s going to command me to do things I don’t want to do? And why is it so difficult for me to do what’s right and stop running away when it gets tough? For now, you just need to take some time to define your relationship with God, not by what you like to think it is, but by the way He defines it. Have you remained close by His side even through the difficult commands?

James Robinson has been the Youth Pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, TX since June 2014. He was drawn to work with students because he believes teenagers are in a highly moldable stage of life where it is absolutely imperative they allow the Gospel to identify who they are. As a Student Pastor, James says he has the inexpressible joy of regularly speaking that life-shaping Gospel into the students' lives.