Reading from Jonah 1 this morning. I was struck again with the decision Jonah made to not listen to God, running from His plan. Jonah's decision came from fear not faith. Fear that if he went to the people of Nineveh they would kill him, or much worse, they would listen and be saved, and Jonah didn't think they deserved to be saved (see Jonah 4:1-3). What ever made up his fear, he acted from fear.
Fear is the opposite of faith. We often think doubt is the opposite of faith, but honest doubt is a soil through which God can grow his love. The Bible says when we seek him we will find him. God can work with doubt. Fear, however, is the faith killer. When we act from fear we leave no room for the possibilities of love, God's love. We limit our potential to what we can protect, defend, and hold on to. We don't become open to what could happen but closed off because of what might happen.
Jonah was afraid so he ran. But he didn't outrun his fears. He was faced with them again on the boat in the storm. He knew why the storm was there, and he knew that his actions had put others in danger. "I know it is my fault this storm has come upon you" he said. This time, still fearing, he chose faith...that if he gave himself to God the storm would calm. It did. He still spent three days in the belly of a fish, but God can work with submission in faith.
Whatever you feel God is calling you to, even if it is scary, step out in faith...submit yourself to him. Faith opens your life up to the possibilities of what God can do. Faith gives God permission to be God in our life. Just watch what he does.