Dear Jonah

You’re probably on the run now. You’re done, you’re tired. You feel a little betrayed. You know how this story would turn out so you will not allow yourself to go through the disappointment or even public humiliation. You can’t afford to believe when you know your hopes will be shattered… again! So you choose to go furthest from where God wants you.

You are hurt, yes you are. Carrying wounds from all the hopes you had, faith in things turning out exactly as He said and despair from the countless disappointments. You know how it’s like to hear from God yet after doing as expected, the results were different. Maybe it’s the jobs you felt Him leading you to apply for, maybe it’s that relationship you got into after praying enough but it left you broken and disoriented. It could be precious friendships brought only to be taken away. Or possibly all the prayers and faith for healing which you thought you experienced but somehow, the same thing is back or something different and worse. How about the prayers you made about school but despite praying and reading; those bad grades keep coming back.

The truth you might not know or are avoiding to confront is that you are wounded and probably feel a little betrayed by God. Oh none of us will quickly admit to being mad at God or feeling like He’s disappointed you enough that you’re hesitant to trust Him with things you hold dear. If you look carefully, you might see how your heart felt slightly stabbed each time you trusted Him with something but it didn’t work out. Yes you know He’s good and said that it is well because He’s in control. What you didn’t know is that each time that happened and you didn’t deal with it adequately, it hurt you deeper and deeper unknowingly. Now you’re like a wounded puppy in a corner and do not want to be touched.

Too many of us carry such pain over time. Yes hope deferred make the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12) and it’s okay to get to the point where you acknowledge what you feel. It could be haboured anger or pain. However it manifests, know that running is not a permanent solution.

Eventually you’ll find yourself drowning in deep dark waters and when that fish swallows you, you’ll have to confront everything and make peace with God.

You see, I know how you feel and I will not condemn your running; whether your running is having left church or being there following the motions yet your heart is detached or simply being in a place where you still do everything expected of a ‘good christian’ but it’s routine stuff.

It’s okay to go through all this. It’s in such a place that you see things you’d never have seen before. You learn that God isn’t threatened by your questions or your doubts. In fact He likes them because you get to walk through it and finally have strong reasons for your faith; He takes you through them and helps you find the answers you need or the peace required when answers are not there.

In that place is where you get to see the beauty of grace, mercy and love. Redemption no longer is a word thrown about but a real experience. You see a God who picks you each time even when you don’t deserve it. Most of all, you’ll see the Hound of Heaven in action; beautifully and constantly pursuing you. He will follow you to the destination you ran off to. He will be there when you’re in the raging waters of the storm. He will send the help you need in form of a big fish and He will be right there in the belly of that fish when you have those conversations you need.

In the end, you will see that running far away from where you were supposed to go, will still lead you right back where you were supposed to be. Sometimes it’s in running that we find ourselves and get to where we need to be.

*Story from the Book of Jonah in the Bible

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Where Your Eyes at?

Have you ever had so much going on that your head was left spinning? One bad thing after another; mistakes following each other and you don’t understand how; financial issues; being faced with major decisions; health problems; crippling fear springing up from nowhere and spreading everywhere etc. There are moments where it feels like Murphy was resurrected for the sole reason of unleashing his law in full force.
When waters around you are raging and the roaring winds in the storm are deafening, it’s almost impossible to focus on anything else. Your issues can snowball and become a giant that taunts you endlessly. You become consumed with the weight of it all and spend most of your time trying to find solutions or tracking a way out. It gets to you. Anxiety becomes your best friend. Stress and you are inseparable. The butterflies find a permanent abode in your stomach. Your thoughts become your breakfast, lunch and supper and suddenly, your appetite soars so more thoughts trickle in.

Such times can be overwhelming. The darkness eats up everything around and leaves no prospects of light coming through.

Yet, in all that, we have two options: allow ourselves to be overwhelmed as we indulge our not-so-perfect circumstances or rise above as we change our focus. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. If you’ve been there, you know how it’s almost impossible to focus on anything else. However, that’s where God comes in. Remember the popular saying that you can either tell God how big your problems are or tell your problems how big your God is? That about sums it up.

When your eyes are stuck on whatever’s not right, you become aware of how small you are compared to your circumstances. When you shift those eyes to who God is and what His promises are for such situations; everything else shrinks in the magnitude of His truth. You do this by digging out every scripture you can find that will help. You fish out every song that will flood your mind with truth. You speak to yourself (mentally or out loud) and encourage yourself like David did.

It doesn’t mean everything will instantly be okay but you will be okay right in the midst of it all. It means enjoying peace that surpasses all understanding. It means being held when you’re letting go. It means hope when it’s completely hopeless and it means help when there’s little you can do.

Here are a few scriptures and songs to help you get started:

SCRIPTURES SONGS
Isaiah 43:1-7 I will lift my eyes- Bebo Norman
1 Peter 5:7 Praise you in the storm- Casting Crowns
Psalm 46:1 Trust in You- Lauren Daigle
Philippians 4:6-8, 13 Everything Falls- FEE
Isaiah 41:10 Even If- MercyMe
  Shoulders- For King & Country
  Let the Waters Rise- Mikeschair