31 Days of Advent in October :: Day 20

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

Photo Credit: Sophie Pope

The Greatest Gift
Reading Selection for December 16th
“The Gift of the Storm”

Jonah 3:2 (NLT) [The Lord said,] “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”

I think we are all familiar with the story of Jonah.  The prophet God told to go to Nineveh, but quickly said no and ran the opposite way, got on a boat, found himself in a storm, and then found himself in a big fish.

On page 163 under “A Moment for Reflection” Ann asks, “When have you found yourself running from God?  How did He draw you back to Himself?”

I mentioned in a couple of posts early on in this series (Day 4 and Day 5) that my view of the Gospel was that it was a system for behavior management and that as long as I never made mistakes then God wasn’t going to be angry with me.

Let me translate that for you, I lived in fear that the God of all the universe was going to be angry with me if I wasn’t perfect.  I made the Gospel dependent on what I do, not what Jesus did and who I was because of it.

So my version of running from God wasn’t open rebellion (I didn’t literally run in the opposite direction like Jonah), it was hiding my true self.  I lived with a sense of not being accepted, of never measuring up to God’s perfect standard.  So when I would sense Him near instead of throwing wide my arms and receiving Love my insecurities and fear took over and I hid.  I had no idea that God wanted to be my Father, my Provider, my Protector, my Lover–I had taken on those roles for myself.  So in His presence, and in front of the whole world, I hid behind the masks of “Responsible Girl”, “Self-sufficient Girl” and “Good Girl.”

He just wanted me, all of me – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Not the fake mask version.

How did He finally draw me close?  He allowed the storms of life that brought me to the place where I no longer had the will or the energy to hold up those masks.  He brought me to brokenness and led me to surrender.  I fought Him every step of the way, but He wanted me 100% fully dependent on Him and absolutely nothing else.  He wanted me to finally see that JESUS IS ENOUGH.

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a storm or even felt like you were in the belly of a fish and wondered what you did wrong and why you were being punished?  Would you be willing to consider the storm a little differently?  What if it’s not the anger of God you hear in the storm?  What if it’s simply the sound of God coming for your heart?  What if it’s the sound of Him fighting for you?

What if the storm is Advent too?

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