Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Over the years, one of my favorite TV shows was "Mission: Impossible." If you were a fan like me, you can hear that driving "Mission: Impossible" theme in your head right now, huh? Well, Hollywood liked the idea enough they made a movie out of it - and then a sequel! The Mission Impossible Team was always given this assignment that seemed like a "no way" assignment - but they pulled it off every time. Every time. There is, however, one mission that is truly impossible.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Ultimate Mission Impossible."
Amazingly, there is probably someone listening right now who is actually attempting the one mission that is totally impossible. Our word for today from the Word of God tells the story of a man who tried it, and, of course, failed. And he was one of God's leaders!
Jonah's the man. You may remember that he got an assignment from the Lord that he really didn't like: to go to Israel's enemies and preach the love and forgiveness of God. His response in Jonah 1:3 -- "Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish." Now can you hear that Mission Impossible theme playing in the background? Jonah went all out trying to get away from the Lord -- he bought a ticket to what is Spain today, which basically was the farthest place on earth he could run to in his day. But it wasn't far enough to escape God. It never is.
Listen: "Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up." Jonah knew this was all his fault for running from God, so he told the sailors to save themselves by throwing him overboard. They didn't want to, but ultimately, the Bible says, "They took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm ... But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights." You probably know the rest. The fish found Jonah highly indigestible and he threw him up on a beach - where Jonah got a second chance and obeyed God this time.
Why is this important? Because someone who's listening right now is trying to do a Jonah -- you're trying to run from God. You're trying to ignore or drown out His conviction to drop a sin you want to hang onto, or His calling to do something that you're afraid or unwilling to do, or His urging to give your life to Jesus. There are a lot of ways to try to run from God. You can rationalize, you can fill up your life with other things, you can do good things to try to appease Him, you can avoid people and places where you might be reminded of His claim on your life.
But it doesn't matter which fugitive road you choose -- running from God is Mission Impossible. Just ask Jonah. God will pursue you. The Lord will follow you, stay close to you, not give up on you -- no matter how much you wish he would. He loves you too much to let you go.
Why waste one more day running from the One who loves you the most? His plans are best. Being away from Him leads to all kinds of unnecessary storms and unnecessary pain. If you've heard the voice of Jesus in your heart, calling you to come to His cross and make Him your Savior, don't keep running away from Him. He died for you. You're just choosing to live one more day alone, one more day without meaning, one more day risking an eternity without Him.
If you're finally ready to turn to Jesus and begin your relationship with Him, tell Him that right now. And I'd like to send you the booklet I wrote about this relationship called "Yours For Life." Just let me know you want it.
Running away from the Lord is Mission Impossible. The only way for your story to have a happy ending is for you to run to Him today.