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Summary: This is the 9th of 31 Devotions on the book of Jonah. Today's devotion is about Jonah being awoken by the Captain, to call on God for mercy and deliverance.

The Awakening

Jonah 1:6 – “So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”

So the captain came to him, and said to him

A Rude Awakening

When the news of Jonah sleeping got to the captain’s ears, he came down himself to meet Jonah. One of the worst things that can happen to someone who’s sound asleep is for someone to awaken them with a loud voice and in anger. It disorients a person and it takes time for the person to realise what’s happening as he transitions from that blissful world into the world of reality. One can imagine Jonah’s thoughts and feelings when he’s awoken out of his slumber.

I’m sure the Captain must have been amazed at the ability of Jonah to sleep amidst such a terrible tempest. It must have also infuriated him that while he and his team of sailors are battling to save the ship and their lives, that there’s a man who can, not only be so oblivious to the situation, but could also be so sound asleep. I’m sure with the combination of the emotions, of fear for their lives, anxiety as to how to proceed further, and anger at Jonah sleeping, the Captain must have been rather stern when he spoke to Jonah.

What do you mean…

He begins by asking Jonah what he means by sleeping. His question can mean one of several things – I’ve just mentioned three possibilities below.

1. How can you sleep amidst such a crisis?

2. Do you think we deserve what we’re getting?

3. Are you sleeping, hoping the problem will disappear or be solved?

We can look at ourselves, The Church and ask ourselves the above 3 questions

1. Are we asleep amidst this global crisis?

When people are crying out to their ‘gods’ for answers concerning this pandemic, when they’re being gripped with the fear of death and when every area of their lives is being affected, are we, The Church being complacent, living like nothing’s amiss or are we actively involved in helping those around us the best we can? Are we doing all we can to make God known to those around who are searching for the truth at this earth-shaking time? People are a lot more open now than they’ve ever been to the Gospel and we need to be as much involved as possible in sharing it in love. The world is in need of love, encouragement, motivation and love more now than it’s been in the recent past.

2. Do we think that people are getting what they deserve?

I’m sure this thought has crossed some of our minds recently when we considered how some cities or countries were worse affected by this virus than others, as if it were an act of God to punish some more than others. We need to remember Jesus’ words in Luke 13:1-5 where he responded to those who told him about an incident where Herod had mingled the blood of certain Galileans with their own sacrifices. Jesus said that they were not worse sinners than all the other Galileans and went on to add that if the people talking to him didn’t repent, they would perish in the same way. Jesus then mentioned another incident, where the tower of Siloam fell on, and killed 18 people in Jerusalem, and He asked whether they were worse sinners than all others who lived in Jerusalem, and he went on to say, ‘No,’ and added that unless the people speaking with Him repented, they would perish in the same way. We can’t afford to be judgmental about people as we’re all sailing in the same boat at the moment.

3. Are we sleeping, hoping this pandemic will disappear?

The world around is in turmoil – without a proper understanding of how to proceed through this period – lockdowns, openings up and more lockdowns are making it rather hard to come to grips with, dealing with the grief of losing loved ones, the fear of death gripping people’s hearts, losing jobs or being paid half salaries, the stress of online studies and work, the separation from friends and so much more. But through all of this the voice of The Church worldwide is not heard loud enough. Are we enjoying a siesta, being concerned about no one but ourselves at this time? Have we forgotten that the reason we were left back on earth after our conversion was to help those around us in every possible way and eventually point them to their Creator, who alone can save them from not just physical death, but death eternal? Do we suppose that this Pandemic will disappear, just like it appeared and that all will be well again? It’s not really that likely that this is the way things are going to pan out. There seems to be the hand of the Lord involved in this, and we. The Church, seem to be the ones whose attention the Lord is trying to get to get us back on track of fulfilling the Great Commission.

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