Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 25, 2019

When Hopelessness Settles In

“I called to the Lord in my distress and He answered me.” Jonah 2:2a (HCSB)

Jonah and the big fish was probably one of my fave Bible stories growing up. The adventure, danger and the spewing out of Jonah kept me sitting on the edge of my seat. What was it like to be in the belly of a fish? Would Jonah survive and if he did would he smelly fishy? All important questions to little minds captivated by this adventure, but Jonah was far from being simply a story. Deep truths erupt in the pages of Jonah’s life.

A prophet on the run, Jonah starts his journey attempting to escape God’s instructions. Haven’t we all been there? Definitely spent my time running away from words I didn’t want to hear. Funny how we think fleeing will solve everything yet it eventually creates new challenges. Jonah finds himself in the midst of a stormy sea jeopardizing innocent bystanders. Best solution – jump ship or better yet have someone throw you overboard. Now I don’t know about you but Jonah could have easily thrown himself into the waters. Wonder if the brave soul once defiant before God faded quickly when confronted with the impact of his sinful choices?

Drama intensified when a huge fish arrives on the scene and swallows Jonah. End of story we might think – who could survive such a tragedy? Yet wallowing around in the belly of a big fish, Jonah finally comes to his senses or shall I say he had plenty of time to pray. Three days and nights must have seemed like an eternity – it always does when the reality of our disobedience rises to the surface. I dare imagine God had Jonah’s full attention. Been there myself too. Amazing how quickly we turn to God when fear accelerates and hopelessness settles in.

“As my life was fading away I remembered Yahweh. My prayer came to You to Your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forsake faithful love,” cries Jonah. In other words, Jonah’s desperate attempt to shut out, dismiss and ignore God’s words had brought him full circle. Nothing like a little time in a dark pit to cause our eyes to be lifted up in recognition of His holiness and our lack thereof.

Lovingly, God spews Jonah out of the fish and grace lands him on dry ground. Wish I could tell you that Jonah learned his lesson …..but scripture reminds us that even the revived Jonah struggled with God’s grace for others. What was good for him, what worked in his favor didn’t seem to apply to others. We’ve probably all landed there too – easily forgetting the grace lavished on us and quick to exercise judgment.

Note to self: we can’t outrun our God. We can attempt to hide but wherever we go He goes. The consequences of disobedience far out weight the uncomfortableness of obeying God’s voice. And finally never forget without grace we’d still be the one in the pit.

“Father, You are our Rescuer,, Restorer and Redeemer but You can’t turn a blind eye to our disobedience. May we never forget the amazing grace that covers us on a daily basis.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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