The Way of the Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

The Way of the Warrior

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Jonah had a head-spinning few days.  He was in a hurricane-type storm, thrown overboard, at the verge of drowning, sucked up by a huge fish, and imprisoned inside the fish for three days.  Then: “the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land” (Jon. 2:10).  The Lord managed to checkmate every detail of Jonah’s plan to avoid his calling.

Jonah finally acquiesced and submitted to his call to the Ninevites, preached a five second sermon and presto, they came to faith in the living Lord.  Jonah still was not out of the emotional turmoil of near-death trauma and he had an emotional meltdown: “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry” (4:1).

Individuals who have experienced extreme traumatic stress, also known as PTSD, have characteristic symptoms.  Dr. Frank Lawlis notes some of these in his book: PTSD Breakthrough.  He reports several symptoms that Jonah was experiencing: triggers of psychological stresses; isolation of others, emotional numbing, outbursts of anger or irrational rage… p.7.  These characteristics Jonah evidenced v after his trauma. He seems to have been affected by PTSD. Before his traumas, he was calmly sleeping during a storm (1:5).

Jonah had an explosion of anger over something that should have been joyful.  He then isolates: “Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city” (4:5).

A few verses later, Jonah again asks to die: “And he asked that he might die and said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live'” (4:8).  This certainly indicates psychological stresses.” And he said, ‘Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die'” (4:9).  The VA would give him a 100% disability rating.

For a PTSD survivor, the key component for hope is speaking to someone who loves and cares for them.  However, when one isolates themselves, it’s difficult for the survivor to find one who cares, thus they continue to isolate, and the cycle continues.  Emotional numbing soon follows. The unaided victim loses hope, and spiritual truths become fantasy.

There was not one Ninevite who sought to minister to Jonah.  They were aware of him, yet none were equipped to caringly minister to his condition.  He had ministered to them, but they were unable to help him. Sounds like modern day vets and first-responders.  So the Lord was willing and able to help. The Lord becomes Jonah’s advocate.

Jonah already knew some attributes of the Lord: “And he prayed to the LORD and said, for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster” (4:2).

He understands the Lord is a great big, soft, cushy place to land.  He will not get hurt by trusting in the safest person in the entire Universe.  Lots of trauma victims do not start with this understanding. They think God is against them.  Job’s wife was so angry at God that she advised Job to: “Curse God and die.” (Job 2:9).  They’d experienced profound trauma, losing all their children and wealth.  She assumed God didn’t care, and she was hurt.

“For I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.” (Jer. 1:19).

God begins Job’s counseling session: “the LORD said, ‘Do you do well to be angry?'” (Jon. 4:4). This is how counselors help clients, letting them decompress.  Trauma survivors are in hyper-vigilance; the energy needed to protect oneself from future pain exhausts the victim.  Living in fear of future danger diminishes the ability to experience joy. Survivors soon are detached, freezing their ability to feel…anything. The Lord focuses on Jonah’s primary emotion – anger.

The Lord asks, then waits for the answer.  Jonah ignores God, walking away: “Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there.” (4:5).  Passive aggression, dismissal of the counselor. The client may not think the counselor really cares, nor understand their condition. Jonah implements his own remedy – he isolates. He may not want to talk with the Lord since He was the one who put Jonah in this situation.  Does the counselor chase down the client? Kinda.

“Now the LORD God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant” (4:6).  The Lord ministers to his natural needs.  The counselor relieves some stress on the body.

Another prophet, Elijah, had a similar melt-down like Jonah’s. Elijah had slaughtered hundreds of prophets of Baal, then Jezebel threatened to kill him (1 Kings 19:2).  Elijah ran from northern Israel all the way into the Negev in the south of Israel – isolating himself. He was physically and emotionally spent. Elijah stopped, exhausted, out in the boonies wanting the entire drama to end: “But he himself went a day’s journey [isolation] into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers‘” (1 Ki. 19:4). Elijah was overcome by his situation, his journey, and was devastated by his failure.  He prays for death. Elijah and Jonah had trauma. These godly men wanted to escape and die. Trauma is a steamroller, making mincemeat out of tough men.

The first ministry the Lord does for Elijah? Read 1 Kings 19:5-7. The Lord first provided food, water, and physical touch.  Physical comfort, will help with emotional turmoil.

What does Jonah’s counselor do? “Now the LORD God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort” (Jon. 4:6).  God ministers to Jonah’s physical well-being, showing He cares.

God doesn’t talk, he acts. He’ll talk later, first he comforts.  He will be moving Jonah into another era in his life, as he does with us.  The Lord has a big job for all of us.

“Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:12).

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