Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. Jonah 1:4

You are probably familiar with the story of the biblical prophet Jonah. He was called by God to a mission he detested.  God wanted him to go to Assyria and preach repentance to the people in the city of Nineveh, a very powerful, but wicked city.  Frankly, Jonah had no interest in these people turning to God.  He would rather see them destroyed by God. In an effort to get away from God he runs in the opposite direction boarding a ship to Tarshish.  That is the point in the narrative where we read the verse above.

Until recently I have always viewed the sending of the wind and storm by God to be punishment of Jonah.  A sort of, “I’ll teach you to try and run from me”.  After studying the entire book of Jonah more I think I completely missed the point of the wind.  The wind was a Divine act of grace and forbearance on Jonah’s behalf.  Even though he wanted no part of God at that moment, God was not done with Jonah. God saw what Jonah could do to bring about His plan for saving the Ninevites. He knew that Jonah had the capacity in him and so he sent a wind and storm to remind the running prophet that he was still seen and needed. God was creating an opportunity for Jonah to realize it himself.

God often sends “winds” in our lives for the same purpose. Wind is difficult.  Wind makes life uncomfortable.  It causes us to wrestle with giving up control and trusting fully in God’s plan for us.  Yet for most of us it is times when we face wind that we grow.  Our perspective gets recalibrated. God graciously and patiently allows us to go through struggles which refine and reshape us into more of His character.  He is not so quick to give up on us as we are to give up on ourselves.

Jonah had to go through a difficult time in the belly of a great fish which finally brought him to the point of surrendering to God’s call.  But he was not alone in the fish. God was there with him.  God was listening to Jonah’s cry and was at his side in the struggle.  The same is true for you today.  You may be facing some fierce winds in life.  The same God who sent wind to Jonah to bring him close is the same God who wants you to draw close to Him in the storm.  God cared enough about Jonah to create an opportunity for growth, restoration and victory. Jonah was worth it to God and so are you!

May you find the strength to take steps forward and weakness enough to realize that you can only do it hand in hand with God.

Live this week on purpose,
Ron Klopfenstein

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