In the words of the old hymn, “Jesus is a rock in a weary land, a shelter in a time of storm.” However, that rock is not accessible through mere belief, but is only to be found through an authentic, living faith in the living Word of God—i.e. by trusting in and relying on the “I Am” presence which IS Christ-in-you.
Not only is that rock not accessible through mere belief, sometimes our attachment to personal and traditional beliefs can prove to be a positive hindrance. For example, prior to his conversion, the apostle Paul— then known as Saul of Tarsus —was a Pharisee who was extremely zealous in his beliefs and who was so furiously enraged at those who trusted in Jesus that he persecuted them in every way imaginable. The following is a first person account of his activities as reported in the book of Acts:
“I have belonged to the strictest sect of our religion and lived as a Pharisee. . . . Indeed, I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is what I did in Jerusalem; with authority received from the chief priests, I not only locked up many of the saints in prison, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being condemned to death. By punishing them often in all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was so furiously enraged at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities” (Acts 26:5, 9-11).
His beliefs were very orthodox and, quite clearly, he thought that by persecuting Christians in this way he was offering service to God (cf. John 16:2). But, as it turns out, he was wrong at the top of his voice. His beliefs, together with his righteous indignation, were, in fact, hindering him from discerning God’s will (cf. Romans 12:2). Like Jonah— only more so —he was working at cross purposes with God. And like Jonah, he had a rendezvous with destiny.