“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?”Psalm 139:7 –

Can we ever run from God? Is He not aware of our every move? Will He let us run from Him?

The omnipotent, omniscient God… who directs and controls the universe… will not allow His children to flee from His presence. He will seek us out because of His unending love and concern for us. He will never let us go.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.”  Hebrews 4:13

Our Lord knows all that lies hidden in our hearts. And yet He still loves us. If we find ourselves running from God, we need always check our motives. Why are we seeking to escape His presence? Perhaps He is convicting our hearts of a certain sin. Maybe He is calling us to a task we would rather not do. Or He may be asking us to forgive the unforgivable. Whatever our cause for rebellion, the One who loves us more than we can ever know will search us out and draw us back to Him.

“Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before Me.”Jonah 1:2

We see in the Old Testament a man named Jonah, a prophet of the Most High God, who chooses to run from God. The Lord calls Jonah to preach repentance to the decadent, immoral city of Nineveh. Why does Jonah choose to run away? Out of pride… for he does not believe the Ninevites are worthy of God’s mercy.

If the prophet’s preaching were to lead the people to conviction, and they were to repent and turn to God, then the Lord would spare them as He promised. Jonah believes the Ninevites are too evil to be saved. God can see that the prophet needs a change of heart… yet it may mean He will have to intervene in a powerful way.

Jonah flees from the Lord and boards a ship heading for Tarshish… in the opposite direction from Nineveh. God sends a violent storm upon the sea that begins battering the ship. The sailors cry out to their god to no avail. When the ship is in danger of sinking, the sailors cast lots to see who among them is responsible for this crisis. When the lot falls to Jonah, they question him…

“I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”Jonah 1:9

Jonah asks the captain to throw him overboard, for he knows that this will cause the storm to subside. Fearing for their lives, the sailors toss him into the raging sea. Immediately, the sea becomes calm. In His great mercy, the Lord brings along a great fish who proceeds to swallow up Jonah.

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”Matthew 12:40

Jonah’s experience is more than just a story, for all Scripture is God-breathed and Spirit-inspired. Jesus shares the story of Jonah in His preaching to the Pharisees. He uses Jonah as an example of His own impending death and resurrection. Our Lord gives credence to the truth and validity of Scripture and to the experience of this Old Testament prophet. Our God is the God of the impossible. Nothing is too difficult for Him.

“What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”Jonah 2:9

Jonah prays from within the great fish to the Lord, repenting of his rebellion. He has run from the Lord his God and has abandoned His calling. God, in His unending mercy, offers Jonah a second chance… as He so often does for us. The huge fish coughs up Jonah onto dry land. Jonah immediately sets out for Nineveh to preach repentance. Upon hearing the prophet’s divinely inspired words, the entire city of Ninevah repents and turns to God.

We are the objects of God’s love. He promises in His Word that we can never escape from Him (Romans 8:39). Nothing can ever separate us from His love. We may believe we are running from God… yet He is forever with us. His neverending love and mercy draw us back to Himself. Like Jonah, we repent and return… and are caught up in the wonder of His infinite grace.