November is dark and can be quite windy. You might also personally go through a heavy storm right now. Sometimes the storm is a sickness or a relationship in crisis. Storms can, however, give us insights and new thoughts. May that be your experience this time.
I don’t know much about ships and boats. But storms affect all of us. In the Bible there are many stories about storms. The storm Jonah experienced is what I think about right now. His name means “dove”. That fits quite well with the fact that Jonah tried to flee and escape, just like a dove.
Jonah was called by God to travel to a city in today’s Iraq – the city was called Nineve – and preach to the people of the city. The problem was that Jonah did not at all want to go or do what God had in mind. Instead he jumps on a ship that goes in the very opposite direction. He leaves Israel and goes toward Tarsis, a city in the north-west part of the Mediterranean. He flees from God and God’s plan. He is not the first one who did that – I am thinking about unwilling Moses in the Bible that after a long discussion with God says ”Please send your message with somebody else ”. Inside of Moses there is a ”I don’t want” – even if he then finally goes. And I think about us and our unwillingness sometimes.
But God does not let go of Jonah. He sends a heavy storm and the ship is about to sink. The people are terrified, they throw things into the sea and try to save the situation. And Jonah? He sleeps, better than ever before! He flees God and he flees his calling.
Sometimes a storm is like an alarm clock. For Jonah it was. Sometimes God shakes our lives dramatically in order to wake us up. This is really a real gift. Sometimes we need storms, they help us redefine the direction and make new, better plans.
So, instead of cursing the storm it would be better to ask: Why am I in this? Does God want me something? Do I need a new direction in life? Am I on the wrong road? These are no simple questions but it is possible to get an answer. The God that let the storm shake our lives has also the ability to speak through it.
After a long, dramatic experience in the sea, Jonah is ready to say yes to God’s calling. That experience places him right in the middle of God’s will. My prayer for you today is that the storm you might be experiencing would place you perfectly in God’s will. That is the best that ever could happen.