Getting Our Attention

The Bible shows that not only does God speak, but He also uses many different ways to get a person’s attention. Sometimes, God uses storms just to get us to listen. The problem is, we often tend to ignore God because we’re reluctant to do what He asks.

Let’s take a look at a person in the Bible named Jonah.

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah … saying, ‘Arise, go to Ninevah the great city …’ But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” (Jon. 1:1-3).

Fleeing from God!

God told Jonah to go to a place called Ninevah. His mission: to tell these people the Good news, that God loved them and they needed to repent. God wanted to shower His grace on the people of Ninevah because He loved them so much. Otherwise, they would surely die if they did not repent from their evil ways. And that was the last thing God wanted.

Jonah had just one problem: he didn’t want to do what God asked. Jonah didn’t like the people of Ninevah, so instead of following God’s instruction, Jonah headed in the exact opposite direction from Ninevah and far from God … or so he thought!

If we are not in tune to His voice, we will miss out on God’s plan for our lives. God is knocking at the door of our hearts, trying to speak to us, yet we are oblivious to Him.

How can we become more sensitive to His gentle whispers or His knocking on our hearts?

How God Gets Our Attention

  1. Through Great Storms

“… the Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up” (Jon. 1:4).

When Jonah fled to Tarshish, the boat hit an unusual storm. The sailors immediately recognized that this was no ordinary storm and began to question Jonah.

God Knocks at Our Hearts

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20).

The truth is, God sometimes uses great storms in our lives in order to reconnect a wayward child back with Himself. Keep in mind that God is not limited, so He will use any method that we will listen to.

The fact is, God not only uses great storms in order for us to connect with Him. He will sometimes have to cut us off from everyone and everything to totally focus our hearts on Him. Thus, the second tool God uses to get our attention is …

  1. Through Isolation

That’s exactly what happened to Jonah. He was so desperate to get away from God that he told the ship’s crew to throw him overboard. But little did Jonah know what God had in store for him once he got tossed over the side of the boat:

“… the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights” (Jon. 1:17).

Sometimes we find ourselves in that situation, too. Maybe not in the bile-filled belly of a fish, but it can sure feel like it sometimes.

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Why does God allow bad things to happen? Sometimes it’s because He has to wean us off the things we think give us identity and value. We live in a society that regards wealth, power and status as a measure of who we are. It gives us a false sense of security.

We have a natural tendency to regard others more than we do God. We also have a tendency of dependency on the world to fulfill our needs. That’s why God makes every effort to reconnect us back to Him. And sometimes, it means isolating us for a season. He has to wean us off of those things that we think give us identity and value.

Jesus’ Assurance

People will leave us a lot of times, but Jesus never will. Sure, He may isolate us for a while and it may seem like He’s departed from us, but that’s so we will come to our senses and realize that Jesus is really all we need.

“… He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him” (Prov. 30:5).

In other words, God cannot be a shield for us until we take refuge in Him.

  1. In Order to Show Us His Son

“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son” (Heb. 1:1-2).

Jesus is speaking to us today. That’s why it’s so important that we have a relationship with Him. Not just a religious experience, but a daily relationship with Jesus. Sin creates a barrier between us and God; eventually, God can’t reach us because we have chosen to reject Him.

However, Jesus came to remove that dividing wall (between God and man) so that our relationship would be restored and repaired. It was His sacrifice that gave us back an access to the Father. And God will never turn away a voice that cries out to Him:

“The Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, ‘I called out in my distress to the Lord, and He answered me’” (Jon. 2:1-2).

Sometimes being in the belly of a fish is where God wants us because often, it is the only place we will cry out to Him. Too many times, it’s the only time we’ll take the time to hear His voice.

God wants your attention in order to show you His Son. Whether you are struggling through a storm, isolated from people or isolated from things you think give you value, God will use any method He can to capture your attention. He’s knocking at the door of your heart. All you have to do is open it.

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