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One woman, so fearful she might violate God’s will for her, begged God to put up a brick wall to keep her from acting against His will. Knowing her desire to obey Him, God blocked her from doing what she otherwise might have done. That’s what God did for Jonah, even though he never prayed like that. In fact, Jonah was deliberately running away from God because he did not want to go preach repentance to the people of Nineveh so they could avoid God’s judgment. Not wishing God to show them mercy, Jonah decided to run in the opposite direction. In doing so, God upended his plans by sending a storm out on the sea to unsettle the ship. Jonah ended up in the belly of a great fish. Down in the fish’s belly he thanked God for saving his life; then he decided it was better to obey than to run away. Only then do we read that “the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.” Jonah learned the hard way—as we must also learn—that it’s better to obey God than trying to run away from His will.

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