Jonah and the Belly of the Whale

Friends, How are you?  I’ve been a bit out of it lately.  I’ve been thinking a lot about my attitude.  Honestly, I spent most of the Christmas break reflecting on my attitude.  I have prayed. I have listened to praise music. I’ve exercised. I’ve been eating right. I’ve read the bible.  I’ve gone to bible study. I have gone to church.  Still, I have struggled.  Have you ever felt like this?  The funny thing is my word for 2021 is: Encouragement.  And, yet, here I am saying I don’t feel it.

These past couple of days I have been thinking about Jonah.  God gave Jonah a job and it was a job Jonah did not want.  So, Jonah ran away.  Do you ever feel like Jonah? I sure do.  God has given me a job and I’m just not interested in it.  I can think of many different people who would be so much better at this job than me.  It’s great that people are encouraging, but, at the end of the day, other people’s encouragement only goes so far.  Sometimes, like Jonah we just have to go into the sea and the belly of the whale all on our own. 

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.  From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.  You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.  I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’  The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.  To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever.  But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God.  When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.  Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.  But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.  What I have vowed I will make good.  Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2: 1-9)

Sometimes, we’re Jonah.  Sometimes, we’re Jonah’s shipmates.  Sometimes, we are Jonah’s parent.  If you are Jonah, I am right there with you, friend.  Let’s join Jonah in saying, “But, I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.  What I have vowed I will make good.  Salvation comes from the Lord.”  Let’s decide to do what we are called to do whether we want to or not.  If you are Jonah’s shipmates, don’t try to save him.  Remember “the men did their best to row back to land.  But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before.”  Sometimes, Jonah needs to go through something in order for God to bring him to something.  And, if you are Jonah’s parent (as we all have been), then we also have to let him (or her) go through the process of running away, being subject to the circumstances and waiting for him (or her) to come around to God.  In all of it, let us thank God because He is always faithful even when we are not.

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