“The captain went to him and said, ‘How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.’ ” (NIV)
How many Christians are living like this world is our final resting place, forgetting we are on mission with a spiritual battle raging all around us? The storms and turmoil we daily witness are the outward manifestations of what is going on behind the scenes in the spiritual world that we cannot see.
Jonah had fallen asleep in the bowels of the ship while those above were in fear of their lives in the midst of a great storm. Jonah was on a detour of his own by disobeying the instructions from God to go to Nineveh to preach repentance. Basically, he was following his own agenda and not God’s. He ultimately came to realize, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” (Jonah 2:8, NIV84)
Jesus asked the same question of his disciples, “ ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’ ” (Luke 22:46, NIV)
We are on mission and must stay the course. For all of us, eternity is fast approaching. God’s Word counsels us, “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11–12, NIV)
It also encourages us to “be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:8–9, NIV)
The Lord, himself, counsels us to watch as the return of Christ can come at any time: “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ” (Mark 13:35–37, NIV)
“This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ ” (Ephesians 5:14, NIV)
In the meantime, we have the privilege to be about the work of the Lord in our everyday life. If we daily present ourselves to him as a living sacrifice, he can continue living his life through us, and we have the prospect of his favor shining on our lives. What a blessing and privilege!
“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3, NIV)
Today, ask yourself:
Am I following God’s agenda for me, or am I like Jonah, following my own agenda?