1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying,“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. 3 For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. 4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ 5 The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me;weeds were wrapped about my head 6 at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. 7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. 8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. 9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” 10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
Jonah cried out when all hope was lost. His life seemed over. Yet such is often the way of the Lord with his children. That despairing moment when we throw our hands up in the air and say, “My life is over”–that moment is when God can really get to work. All through the Bible we see the truth that:
life comes not by avoiding death but through death
(John 12:24-25) 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
strength comes not despite weakness but in weakness
(2 Cor 12:7-10) 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
comfort comes not by eliminating all affliction but through affliction
(2 Cor 1:3-7) 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
The supreme instance of this is Jesus himself, who “was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God”
(2 Cor 13:4) 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.
This lesson of gaining life by dying to self is what Jonah begins to learn here in Chapter 2, as he sits miserable in the belly of the fish, having saved others by sacrificing himself.
(Matt 16:25) 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Can you actually imagine being in the belly of the ‘big fish’ ? I can’t, but I can relate to it somewhat, with different trials I’ve had over the years. The only thing I can think to add, is a phrase that Duckie has posted. It is a very simple statement that says so much. When you are facing situations and you feel there is no way out, ‘Let Go and Let God’. He is always here for us. He will never leave us.
Please share any prayer requests, special thoughts, and any songs or verses that may be touching your heart today.
I wish everyone a very blessed Monday.