By Charles Stanley
In the light of God's omniscience and omnipresence, it is easy to wonder why Christians still attempt to run from Him. Jonah certainly demonstrated that it could not be done, and yet people insist on trying. Why? Sometimes they act out of pure selfishness. It seems that we have an unlimited capacity to believe we know what is best for us, no matter what God thinks or says. Sometimes we balk out of simple fear: we are afraid that we might not succeed; we are concerned that others will be critical of our efforts; or perhaps we fear obedience might be too costly. What we often fail to recognize is the high price of turning aside and fleeing from the Lord.
Jonah paid dearly for his rebellion. Not only did he suffer embarrassment, terror, and guilt, but he also jeopardized the lives of innocent men. You cannot run from the Lord without inflicting heavy punishment on innocent people. How many fathers and mothers walk away from their children and say, "I can do what I want. It's my own life." No, it is not. You cannot leave little children fatherless or motherless without reaping lifelong pain and suffering. Nor can you sin against the Lord without paying a terrible price yourself and hurting others in the process.
In spite of this awful reality, it is also true that God is forgiving - He offers a second or third or fortieth or millionth chance. (Jonah 3:1) He kept after Jonah as long as it was necessary, and He will be faithful to you as well.