Wednesday 25 September, 2019
Fleeing from the LORD?
“But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for the port. After paying for the fair, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD” (Jonah 1:3)
Some years back at Sunday school, we frequently sung a song with the following lyrics: “There was a man called Jonah, he was chosen by the Lord, to go and preach immediately but he disobeyed. I will never be like Jonah x3 who disobeyed.” For heaven’s sake, I never knew what those words meant. I never knew that what we were singing was a Bible story of a man who attempted to flee from God.
Jonah was called by God to ‘go to the city of Nineveh and preach against it, because it was a wicked city.’ For his own sentiments, Jonah refused to respond positively to the Lord’s call but chose to flee away from God. Jonah was unwilling to preach to a city that terrorized them; he was unwilling to bring the message of repentance and salvation to the Ninevites. So, he decided to be on the run to Tarshish. It took God to recall Jonah whom he has called and commissioned to take his message to Nineveh to order.
- Read: The Valley of Slaughter
Even though I did not understand what I sung, I actually was unknowingly making a vow to the Lord never to disobey his call. My call to pastoral ministry was affirmed by God while I was in senior five. Like Jonah, I made several attempts to disobey God but he has brought me to wherever I attempted to flee. I ran away from doing religious education at high school, I had at one time resolved to become a medical doctor than a pastor. But God…, wherever I ran, he brought me back to ministry.
Many have fled from God. Many are fleeing from God. Many have failed to settle in what they currently do because they disobeyed God’s call. Many are not even bothered about their God ordained call to ministry. Many have run away from ministry because it does not pay. But, do not be one.
Do not flee from God. Only avail yourself that God may use you for his purposes. The cost of fleeing from God can be more damaging than responding to his call. Ask God to forgive you of all attempts to run away from his call, pray that his grace will be sufficient to sustain your positive response.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may I never flee from your call. Guide all my ministry and career decisions that they will fit within your purpose for my life. Amen!
Rev. Julius I. Tabi is a Dean of Students’ Affairs at Uganda Christian University Arua Campus. He is an ordained minister in the Anglican Diocese of Ma’di and West Nile (Church of Uganda) and serves as chaplain at Ushindi Secondary School in Arua. Julius is a student of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology of Uganda Christian University. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues at MF Norwegian School of Theology. Prior to his pastoral training, Julius trained as a high school Biology and Chemistry teacher. You may reach him by completing the form below.