2 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said:
“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.
Jonah 2:1-2 (NIV)
Let’s face it- we all goof up. We all make mistakes in judgment. We all get too sure of ourselves. We become prideful, rebellious; or just plain careless. In those moments, with resounding clarity, it comes to us- we are in over our heads!
As a mom, I have always erred on the side of safety:
- wear your seat belt
- hold my hand
- stay where I can see you
- do not go in too deep
Yet, invariably, there were times that my children would disregard my commands and find themselves in a mess.
When they did, what was my first response? Get them back to safety! Then deal with their mistake.
We serve a mighty, gracious, loving, tender-in-mercy God. Thank you, Jesus! When we make a mistake, when we go our own way, He always wants to restore us. He longs to deliver us and bring us back to level footing. Upon the solid rock of truth!
I think we struggle the most with crying out for help when we know the mess we are in is of our own making. It is easy to tattle when someone else shoves us in the mud, but when we jump headlong into the mire, it is pretty humbling. And embarrassing.
Jonah had been swift to respond to the voice of God in today’s verse. But his swift response was to run in the opposite direction of what God had told him to do. He had been quick to bolt and chart his own course.
Because God is loving and compassionate, sometimes He has to parent us with some tough love. He has to put His foot down and say, “Oh, no you don’t!” He has to block our path and address our willfulness before our momentary lack of insight costs us eternal consequences.
Jonah’s rebellion would affect not only him, but the other passenger upon the boat as well as the entire city of Nineveh.
Who in your life is affected by your rebellion?
Chances are, it is more people than you realize.
When Jonah found himself in the belly of the fish, he realized his need of God and cried out. Even if you have waited almost too long, if you still have breath, use it to cry out for help and mercy. Our Father stands ready to redeem and restore!
Oh, Lord, today I lift up those who have chosen the wrong path. Those that have resisted your direction. I ask that they will come to themselves and cry out for help. I ask that they sense your nearness and heed you knock. In Jesus’ matchless name I pray. Amen.
- sunscreen and scripture
- The Hardest Day of My Life