Read Jonah 1:4-9. Jonah’s sense of well-being was tremendous. He had the sun on his back, the gulls squawking in his ears, a sea breeze in his face, clear blue water under his feet, gentle waves lapping at the boat, and cool spray cooling his face. What could possibly go wrong? – ‘I feel I was meant for this…This is wonderful! How can it be wrong when it feels so right?’, he might well have said to himself. But many of our most pleasant emotions deceive us.

Jonah’s relief that his inconvenience was over was short lived. All of this elation and excitement that his bitter assignment was behind him was premature. The earth hadn’t split, nor the skies fallen down. God must be pleased. All’s well with the world, and with Jonah. So in this frame, tired from the exhausting race to the coast, Jonah went below deck and fell into a deep, stupefied sleep. He was at peace in the place where we lose touch with God, and can’t be awakened easily. What a graphic picture of so much of the Church in the West today – going through the motions without the emotions!

So God sent a wake-up call! Like a tranquilizer drug sipped a few drops at a time, we’ve imbibed worldly thinking and worldly habits that have put us soundly asleep, while the world faces some of the greatest storms in history, as we see here (v.4). Jonah is dulled, insensitive, snuggled down in the hold in his dressing gown and pyjamas supping hot cocoa before he settles down for the journey to Tarshish. His watch said, ‘You’ve got all the time in the world’. Jonah believed it. He had sweet dreams of better days ahead. It says Jonah ‘went down’ three times. He is now below deck in a coma!

Let’s get this clear. There will be no revival in Tarshish if God has sent you to Nineveh! It is self-delusion and wishful thinking to believe so. It can only end in disillusionment and serious danger for yourself and others. For God can whip up a chastening storm any time he pleases. Every backslider is foolishly ‘killing time’ when God has called us to ‘redeem it’ and make the most of every opportunity! If we have fallen into a ‘deep sleep’, God can wake us up again! God’s waves were now coming over the side of the ship and threatening to drown them all! Jonah’s re-awakening is now set in motion!

If you feel you’ve lost ground spiritually and drifted away from God, tell him what you’d most want him to do for you restore you again.