The boat was headed to Tarshish. He nodded at the man who sat next to him who also nodded back – none of them wanted to talk. The boat had passengers and business cargo from Joppa to Tarshish.
Peter knew it was wrong but he had already decided. His business started in Nineveh and was expanding to Tarshish so he went there often. This trip was different though. He met her a few weeks ago – she invited him for dinner but the way looked at him, moved her lips and her sultry voice made it clear that the invitation was for more than food. He politely excused himself from her and went home to his wife. She broke the news that she was expecting their seventh child. They had discussed it – she was supposed to go to the doctors a few months before and ‘close shop’ but she ‘forgot’. His world has been spinning fast since that day. He just wanted to escape reality.
Jonah was running from his assignment; his responsibility. He felt guilty but he had decided. He needed to escape reality. He slept soundly lulled to sleep by the swaying of the boat.
The storm came from nowhere and the captain, who seemed to have done this before, took charge. The thunder, the lighting and the rough waves – it really seemed like they were going to die. The captain ordered the cargo to be thrown overboard and no one objected – not even the owners. Even the all important Captain’s chair was also thrown overboard. The boat did not stabilize and one man suggested that the fat passengers should be thrown overboard – tempers flared and now people wanted to throw him overboard. The captain came to his rescue.
It was decided that they would cast some lots/dice and the gods would show them who had sinned making them angry and causing the storm.
Peter was sure he was the one who had jinxed the ship. He was sure God had heard his wife’s prayers and was punishing him for his intended dinner mission. He prayed loudly asking for mercy, saying he was sorry, promised he would be faithful to his wife, he would work harder to provide for baby no.7. He had never been more sincere in his life – he stayed on his knees and repented of everything he could think of and made many promises to God.
By the time the storm was over, Peter was a changed man. When faced with the trouble, his priorities were all of a sudden clear. This journey was to search for a few minutes of pleasure but would have ruined his wife, his six children and his life.
While Peter was in the corner, the lot was cast and it fell on Jonah. Jonah confessed to being a prophet who was running from his assignment from God. he was sure God was causing the storm to get his attention. He asked them to throw him overboard and when they did, the sea became calm.
The storms in your life may not be your fault but they will help you clarify what’s important. What to pursue and what to let go of; what can be replaced and what we cannot live without; who to throw out of the boat of your life and you can move forward peacefully.
Sometimes a tough situation may not be your fault but it always helps realign your life’s priorities and what is important
Sometimes the best way out of a tough situation is getting in a corner, stop all the frantic efforts, get in a corner and ask God for help.
*Check out the full story in the Bible Book of Jonah Chapter 1