v. 4-6 "Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, 'How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.'"
I am picturing a calm sea, nothing at the time is out of the ordinary. The men go about their business on this ship unaware of what is to come. Then the wind set it's sights on the sea, the waves must have gotten bigger by the minute. Once strong men will wither to their knees to seek a God who can help them out of misery. It only takes seconds for life to change forever and then we find we are on a new course.
After Jonah ran, verse four says "Then God", He gives us chances, He is patient and will wait for us. Although, if we choose badly then He can instantly bring on any number of storms into our lives. We are much better off if we choose to follow God in the first place, rather than wait and be hit with consequences. If you are wondering why I am only writing about a few verses each time it's because there are so many interesting things in this small book that I don't want to overlook the valuable lessons here. I think after the Gospels (Jesus' time on earth) & Revelation's (what is to come) Jonah is one of the most important books in the entire bible.
God has power over the weather. He is able to get our attention with any means necessary, even when we don't want the interruption. The men on this ship were not Jewish so they cried out to their gods. The problem with a man made god is that they don't have eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to feel or power to act. Many still follow such gods, that brings great sadness to my soul. The God of Israel can hear, see, feel and has power that we can never truly understand on this side of the Kingdom. Many who do not know God for various reason often use Him as the last resort. He should be the first one we think of in good or bad times. The men threw the cargo overboard to lighten the load. Many times we do things that make sense like making the load lighter, but that may not change the storm that is all around us. The wrong acts are completely inefficient when our hearts are not in the right place.
After being disobedient to God, Jonah went to rest and fell into a deep sleep. I am in awe how this man found peace in his outright defiance to God and was able to sleep. I remember a time when I was defiant against what God was trying to do, yet I had no peace at all, I only thought that things of the earth brought me peace. Our justifications for sin does not justify sin, it's our minds way of reasoning the unreasonable. This mirrors when Jesus fell asleep in the boat with the disciples, yet these men were very different. Do we think that when God asks something from us that He will not equip us with the means to achieve it? It is amazing how in our mind we can alter reality and truth to fit our thoughts and actions.
Jonah's decision to run from God put the lives of an entire crew in jeopardy. Our selfishness does not care if we pull down others with us. Our sin will hurt those around us if we do not comply with God's will. The captain of the ship told Jonah that maybe his God will take notice and save them. We think that whatever we do is not noticed, everything we do and say goes on record in a heavenly court that will later serve as our place of judgment.
"We don't mind following Christ as long as His path eventually converges onto the one we already had chosen. Interruptions have a way of revealing whether we really mean it when we say, 'Lord, not my will but Yours be done.' Make sure your life writes a story worth reading. Correctly viewing and appreciating God's awesomeness and His love compel you to realize the distinct privilege of being used by Him. Jonah had done what we often do-take ownership of that which we've only been asked to manage." Priscilla Shirer
Jonah was a man who followed God for a living until the task seemed too great that he could not bear it. Can you imagine if God asked us to do something so unbelievable and instead of fighting Him or making excuses we followed Him. The world we live in would be vastly different from the current one we are in.
When the plans we make clash with God's intent for us, there will always be a storm that we have to go through.