Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him. Jonah 1:15-16 (NLT)
Committing to a relationship with God is not something to be taken lightly. And whether we like it or not, it always impacts those around us. This can be both good and bad. For example, if I commit to be in a relationship with God and I am blessed because of it, then my family and those around me are blessed as well. Same is true if I commit to a relationship with God and I have to walk through some really tough times (for my growth and his glory). My family and those around me will go through really tough times as well.
When I first realized this, it bothered me....just being honest here. I didn't think it was fair and I didn't want my family to go through painful things because of my choices. Of course, I was OK with them getting the blessings. J But isn't that how life is? If your family member chooses to drink and drive and gets into an accident, there may be ripple effects that impact everyone they are close to.
But then I had to ask myself, “Are you the person taking care of your family or is God? Can you choose to not follow God and protect your family?” And then I had to honestly ask myself, “Who do you think you are? God?” Even if people experience a negative impact because of your walk, aren't they still better in God's hands than having an easy life without him?
And finally, there is the possibility that they will see God in a different way because of your journey. We are pretty familiar with the story of Jonah. He was a prophet. God asked him to go and speak to the people of Nineveh. If you look up job descriptions for prophet, this would be one of the top job requirements. Jonah didn't want to. He said no and went in the opposite direction. So God pursued him and as Jonah was sleeping on a boat, God sent a storm to get his attention. He not only got Jonah's attention, he got the attention of every other person on the boat. There was a lot of discussion about what to do with Jonah saying "Throw me overboard." I think he knew he wasn't getting out of this mess easily. The sailors, showing good human morals, didn't want to. I bet this was a terrifying, stressful situation for them. But finally, it got so bad they tossed him into the drink. The storm stopped at once.
That is where today's verse comes in. After all they went through, in the end they were awestruck by God's power and they worshiped him.
Maybe, just maybe, as we walk through life’s blessings and curses, if we commit to walk with God, those around us will be blessed – even when it’s hard.