April 2002

CAN YOU ESCAPE GOD?

I was speaking down in Green Valley this past January and something kept going through my mind - here was God finally telling me it was time to move on. The number of times that I have ignored that prompting and received 'a kick in the pants'. This time I was not going to risk it. I could not escape God.

I love the tale of Jonah and remembered that I had used an illustration in one of my essays from 1995 {in my book} - when I pulled it out just look what the first paragraph says.

'Five years only until the New Millennium when we are told there will be earth-shattering changes. If we believe our own feelings and those of many others there are changes already, but in our spiritual life not this earth. There has been such 'an overturning and an overturning' of consciousness by so many that I have talked with this past year.'

Is not this so true today? And of course the Millennium was actually 2001 The story I was looking for is this:

My Bible Review carried an article by David Sharir, a playwright and artist, who had wanted to take the story of Jonah and make a comic drama of it, and there is plenty of material there for him to play with. But what caught my attention was his emphasis on the impossibility of escaping God. The Book of Jonah opens with this. "Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, Go at once to Ninevah, that great city, and cry out against it for their wickedness has come up before me. But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord." Almost every Prophet began his career by trying to get out of it, Moses complains of being 'thick of speech (Ex 4:10). Jeremiah worries that he's too young (Jer 1:6). Isaiah's lips are not clean (Is 6:5). Jonah doesn't even stand to parley, he is simply 'out of there'.

A little of Sharir's script is quoted here:

'when Jonah decides to flee he asks his wife Rachael
(an actual creation of  the writer) where he could hide: 
Rachael replies: "I do not know, across town at cousin Yacob's? 
Jonah exclaims, 'That blabbermouth? As soon as I 
arrived there, he'd  thank God for my safe arrival,
and blow my cover."

I think I like this David Sharir!

So he decides to set off for Tarshish to get away from the Presence of the Lord. Foolish man! We know that the presence is with us at all times not just shut up in a temple or church.

But the Lord sent out a great wind - and the mariners were afraid and cast forth the wares they carried to lighten the ship. But Jonah was out of it. Fast asleep inside the ship.

The master of the ship went to waken him and said, " Oh sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. Then the men decided to cast lots, to find out what was causing the evil and the lot fell upon Jonah.

Boy was he in trouble - but he confessed that he was running from the Lord and demanded that they cast him into the sea. But they decided to row harder, but to no avail - eventually they cast Jonah into the sea and the raging winds ceased.

What I want you to look at now is yourself in this - do you try to get away from the will of God? Do you then land yourself in trouble and finally say, what is the use? Then go and hide.

Just think back to how many of the Bible characters go and hide in caves. The classic one is Elijah who in I Kings 20:9 goes to Mount Horeb (barren, solitude).

God wants to know what he is doing there - he is afraid for his life from the children of Israel and is told to stop hiding and go outside. There comes up a howling wind, then an earthquake and a fire, then a still small voice. That still small voice sent him back out into the world to fulfill his destiny once more. Do we miss out on our destiny by ignoring God?

Here is Jonah taken up by the whale and hiding in its belly. How often do you, or those you know, retire to bed and hide under the blankets to get away from some challenge?

But he finally got the point, and prayed to the Lord that he would do what he was told. The wonderful prayer in the middle of the somewhat comic story was this:

For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compasses me about; all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: The depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was closed upon me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption. O Lord My God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came I unto thee, into thine holy temple. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that, that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.

 Doesn't this sound rather like Job?

All the stories in the Bible have messages for us if we but have ears to hear? Note the use of mountain here, 'to the 'bottoms'!

And the whale vomited out Jonah upon the dry land, which sometimes seems to happen with us as God gets a little impatient with us. Do you remember my favorite character, that of Jehosaphat? When he was surrounded by the might of Syria - he gathered the people together to sing praises to God, and they were delivered. Read the whole story in 2 Chronicles Chapter 20.

So finally Jonah sets out for Ninevah, and proclaimed its fall and doom if they did not repent from their wickedness. Now here is an interesting twist. Much to Jonah's chagrin, they did fast and covered themselves with sackcloth and ashes by command of the King, and violence was no more in the land.

BUT, did this please Jonah? - No way he wanted them to be punished after all he had gone through, and because he was angry he wanted to get out of it all again. What a mixed up kid! Yet have we not felt the same way at some time in our lives? So out he goes into the desert outside the city, and he sat down and a gourd grew up over him to give shade. - Then a worm ate it! - God gives and God takes away. But what is it that we are supposed to do?

Are we not so mixed up ourselves? Jonah is such an example of how we cope with circumstances. Yet, when we look to Divine Order in our lives and 'Let God be God in us', all things are taken care of and everything is added unto.

I said at the beginning that there was an 'overturning and an overturning' of consciousness that has been taking place for the past 5 years. But have we listened?

I have mentioned 'metanoia' many times - this is from the Gospel of Thomas, and it is being mistranslated as 'repent'. The actual meaning being, 'to change ones knowing', or better still, 'a transformation of one's awareness'. To do that you have to look at yourself, and your place in this universe from a different viewpoint. That viewpoint is again an expansion on the tale of the fields white for harvest.

We are so locked into our limitations as to how things are according to appearances, that we cannot see the tree in the acorn, the flower in the bulb, the fruit in the seed, or the harvest in the bare earth.

But God can.

Today there is a tremendous change from the material things of life to the family. This was evidenced over this last Christmas. A movement to the spiritual, a transforming of our awareness of just what is of real importance.

Moving with God instead of resistance to God - instead of I will - I want - I need, there is that big word again LET. 'Let God be God in you'. I cannot repeat this phrase of Meister Eckhart enough times until you get it. If I leave you with one axiom - it would be that.

Are you ready to really transform your awareness? A sure knowing within your consciousness.

Many, many times the word of God is repeated and repeated in the Bible yet we do not hear. The Gospel According to Thomas reiterates this again and again, those who have ears to hear let them hear. In turning out I came across a piece I had cut out about the changes to that phrase in the different version of the bible. Completely missing the point.

But do we really listen - do we shut off the radio or television, to really listen? Isn't this why the present generation just has to have music all the time? They have not been taught that God has a very small voice. Until BOOM, their world is suddenly changed beyond their comprehension. The generations of the earlier part of the last century faced an uncertain world, and were stronger for it. Today our children have been wrapped in cotton wool so that they have to challenge something they know not.

We, like Jonah - try so hard to run from our destiny. We lose ourselves in our work, in frantic efforts to find happiness. In some sports, where even challenging God for our lives as in car racing or sky-diving. Didn't Jonah say, kill me God but not this.

My daughter had an experience with a dentist's secretary in which no way would she accept responsibility for an error in the billing. This is today's challenge - accepting responsibility for who we are. There is always someone else to blame, and the health field plays on that to our detriment and their advantage. We are here to experience this planet and its challenges - how we walk through them is up to us.

There are so many scare tactics associated with the word 'Armageddon' floating around today, that I have to tell you that the word actually means the Hill of Megiddo. As per Young's Concordance.

Hill - means going up to a higher consciousness. Megiddo - means a most fortunate place.

Therefore it is a place where there is an opportunity for the individual to obtain a great and sweeping victory over error thoughts, and bring forth a great awareness of the Truth of our Being. A 'transformation of our awareness' is what John the Baptist was trying to tell us.

The last phrase of the story of Jonah is - " Will you see who you are and return to Me." Will you?

Emma Curtis Hopkins puts it this way:
Steadfastly facing Thee there is no evil on my pathway. 
Steadfastly facing Thee there is no matter with its laws. 
Steadfastly facing Thee there is no loss no lack no deprivation. 
Steadfastly facing Thee there is nothing to fear for there shall be no power to hurt.

Changing our awareness of the presence of God in, as, and around us at all time everywhere, is now a priority
For there is no escape from God.

BLESS YOU AS YOU DO IT. 
PJR

July 2002