“I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death.” Jonah 2:6 CEB
When I was in elementary school I was privileged to go through training to become a Junior Lifesaver. We had to demonstrate our ability to swim, learn how to rescue people if they were in trouble, and learn how to do all of this without endangering ourselves in the process. Those who were running the class had us swim for distance, dive to the bottom of the pool to retrieve a dummy, and hold our breath for as long as we possibly could. They also taught us some great techniques and what to watch for around the water. One of the toughest tests they gave us was treading water. They did not have us tread water in our swim trunks. No, they had us tread water for 10 minutes fully clothed, shoes and all. At first it was pretty easy, just like treading water in your swim trunks. With every minutes that passed it became more difficult. My clothes took on more and more water until they were completely saturated. Not only were they saturated they were also very, very heavy. In fact, they started dragging me down. I had to fight exponentially more to keep my head above the water. I am happy to say I survived and earned my Junior Lifesaver status and card.
I know what it’s like to feel as though you are literally sinking. No matter how hard you try, you still feel like you are sinking. Have you ever felt that way? A lot of people may not have experienced that literal sinking feeling, but almost everyone has felt that sinking feeling in another way. When we are overwhelmed with life and circumstances it can certainly give us that sinking feeling. It’s as if there is water that is rising higher and higher until it is way over our head. We have to begin treading water and with every minute we tread water it gets more and more difficult. Have you ever had this kind of overwhelming feeling in your life? Did you know that sometimes we are creating this feeling? Sometimes we are the very reason that we are experiencing this overwhelming, sinking feeling. We are trying to tread water as if the whole thing depended on our ability to stay afloat.
Let me explain by asking another question … how often do we truly consult God on our agenda for the day, week, month, year, or life? We may pray, read Scripture, go to church, be in a Life Group even. Do we really bring God into the planning process for our day? So many of us shoot up a quick prayer like, “God help me follow you today.” We don’t truly seek God’s agenda, instead we invite God to be a part of our agenda. We want God to sign off on and bless what we have planned. I believe that when we do this we are resisting God’s will for our life. We are starting with our agenda and not seeking what God has in store for us. God does not want us to resist, God wants us to respond. We are to respond to the call that God has placed on our life and follow where God leads.
Jonah resisted God’s call and thought he knew what was better for him. It didn’t work out for him so well. He began to have that literal sinking feeling. He thought he was doomed to death by drowning. God had a different plan. God made a different way for Jonah and saved him. God saved Jonah because he had a call on Jonah’s life. What call does God have on your life? If you are not certain about that, the first step may be looking to see if you are resisting God. I can assure you that when we stop resisting and respond to God’s call amazing things happen. I pray that we all respond to God’s call to follow after Him and avoid resisting. That’s when God’s amazing call comes to full fruition in our life.
This Sunday we continue the message series on the book of Jonah. Susan Lewis will help us understand the cost of resisting God’s call. What a privilege to know that God calls us to follow and be a part of the divine plan of redemption for the world. There is no greater place to be than to follow God. God is at work at St. Andrew’s and I can’t wait to see you in church!