The following comment on Jonah 1:3 is from the Pastor of a local congregation here in Shannondale that I thought worth repeating:
Running from God is the dumbest thing you could ever do. But have you ever done it? The funny thing is after you run as far as you can and you finally turn around and look, He’s still right there! The Psalmist said, “Where can I flee from your presence?” The answer is Nowhere! Why do we try to run from God? Well, in Jonah’s case it was because he was afraid. He was afraid of what he had to do, where he had to go, how it might turn out. He was afraid of God’s kindness. Why would he be afraid of God’s kindness? Well he was afraid that God was kinder than he was. And on that point Jonah was right. I’m afraid that God may want me to show more compassion, more patience, more sensitivity, more understanding, more love than I have to give. I’d rather run away from that, then get choked by the reality of what it means to die to my self and be a servant to others. Love my enemies? Bless those that curse me? Turn the other cheek? That’s just not in my nature. And God says, “I know it’s not. That’s part of the problem. You’ve got a sinful nature.” The solution isn’t to run from God, as if somehow that will make things better. The solution is to run to God, to run right into his will and if the reality of God’s will chokes the life out of your self centered, me oriented, sinful nature, well… all the better. The bible says it this way in Colossians 3, “Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature.” Jonah was afraid of God’s kindness. What he didn’t count on was that God was too kind to let him go. Just when he thought he had outrun God, he ran right into Him. The longer you try to run from God, the longer the process will take. You may find yourself in a storm. You may find yourself in a boatload of trouble. But, Jonah 4 says that God is "gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love." Our Father desires our attitudes to be in alignment with his attributes. The longer you run, the longer it takes. So let me encourage you, Whatever assignment God has placed before you don’t run from it, run to it. And let the transforming work of God's Spirit begin in you.