So they asked him, “Tell us who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” Jonah 1:8
Jonah sleeps while the violent storm rages and the sailors frantically wake Him. This reminds me of how Jesus sleeps on the boat during the storm, only to be wakened by his frightened disciples. The stories are similar in their events, there must be a connection that I cannot conceive of now so I will leave this train of thought for another time.
The SWIM narrative for today says that Jonah is sleeping because he has no regard for disobeying God’s command. On the contrary, I was thinking Jonah was sleeping because he was deeply conflicted and depressed over not being able to carry out God’s desire. Lately, I’ve been thinking that God’s command is not something that is external to us — something on the outside telling us what to do. I think God’s commands come from deep within us — from the sometimes small voice of the Holy Spirit that resides within all of us. The command is not really an order but a calling out of our destiny (i.e, what we were meant to do and what will shape us be to more like Christ).
It is the hard things that shape our character and mold us more into Christ-likeness. It is the hard things burn off the dross, leaving us naked and pure. When we don’t follow the true inner voice, instead of being fully alive, our soul falls into a deep, deep sleep. But God, in His grace, rouses us in many ways (i.e., a storm) — not because He is angry with us, but because He doesn’t want us to miss out on our best life. The sailors ask Jonah fundamental questions: “Where do you come from? (i.e, to whom do you belong? whose are you?)” and “What kind of work to you do? (i.e., what is your mission?).” As we answer these questions, we become more attuned to the burning desire of God in us. We may detour, but we will always return to do the will of God, as a stream eventually finds its way into the river. It is our destiny, as God is always calling out to us and will never give up on us.