Deep Down Prayer

You’ve had moments when you just had to be there. They were indescribable. It may have been when your child was born or they day you got married or the day you retired. We’ve all had those days when it was difficult to put into words how we were feeling. That’s Jonah 2. Jonah has been thrown overboard during a massive storm at sea and now finds himself in the belly of a large fish that has been provided by God himself.

One thing we learn from this part of Jonah’s story is that God is in control of ALL THINGS. No matter how big or small, God is in control. While you may think God’s abandoned you because of the current storm in your life or the massive thing in front of you that’s going to swallow you whole, know that God’s trying to get your attention. He’s pursued you since the day you were born. He wants you to be a part of his story that is unfolding right in front of you.

So, like Jonah, what do you do when God finally catches up to you? How do you respond when God’s got your full attention?

The first thing we learn in Jonah 2 is that we call to the Lord. In verse 1-6, we discover Jonah calls out to the Lord. When you find yourself in a mess, in a tight spot, in a place where it feels like a dark cloud has covered you, your starting place must be calling on the Lord.

We feel guilt in our lives because we run from God and until we turn back to him or repent, our guilt is going to be overwhelming. Jonah’s story reminds us when we’ve had enough of carrying our guilt around with us, we turn back to God and call on his Name.

The second thing we do is remember the Lord and all he’s done for us. Verse 7 tells us that Jonah remembered the Lord. Every Sunday, we partake of the communion which is the bread and wine which represents Jesus’ broken body and shed blood. We remember what Jesus did for us but our remembering gives us hope for the future. God is faithful. He has been faithful in the past and he’ll be faithful in future. God’s amazing grace is available to everyone who turn back to him.

When you can’t run anymore…when you are out of breath…when you are just plain tired of your decision making and God catches up, what do you do? Well, you worship the Lord with everything you have. Verses 8-9 tell us that Jonah worship God. The best way to deal with guilt is worship. We are called to worship the God of second chances. I mean, why would God give Jonah a second chance? Because God wasn’t done with Jonah yet and Jonah admitted he needed God and repented.

There is a God who has been pursuing you since you were born. You were meant to be a part of His story so stop running. Call on the name of the Lord, remember what he’s done for you through his Son Jesus Christ, and worship him with everything you have! Blessings on your journey.

Rise Up.

Did you ever not want to do something? For example, you didn’t want to go to school so you pretended to be sick. Or you decided to go to the lake instead of work so you called in that your car wasn’t working properly. The early days of my adulthood were that way. I wanted to do what I wanted to do and that didn’t include following God. So I lived a few years in the dark, making poor decisions and wrong choices.

When you read the story of Jonah, that’s just what he does. Jonah is a prophet and preacher for God in the Old Testament and God says, “Get up and go.” Jonah got up but went the opposite direction. Every decision Jonah made put him further from God (or so he thought). Notice the text in Jonah 1 says he got up and went DOWN to Joppa and got on a ship where he went DOWN into the hold. Eventually, he was thrown overboard where he went DOWN into the water and finally DOWN into the belly of a large fish. Instead of rising up to meet God, Jonah went down and went down hard. Jonah’s story reminds me of a few truths about God.

One, you can never escape God. He is always with you no matter where you go. Notice what King David says about God in Psalms 139. “I can never escape from your Spirit. I can never get away from your presence. If I go up to heaven you are there. If I go down to the grave, you are there…even in darkness I cannot hide from you.” No matter what you and I try to do, God is always present. What an incredible blessing! No matter the distance I try to put between me and my creator, he’s always there.

Two, God always wants what’s best for you, even when you don’t believe it. Jonah ran because he couldn’t believe his God would want others to be saved. He was fearful to go because he wanted the town God was hopeful for repentance to perish.

Jonah went through a difficult time because of his decision. He endured isolation, the power of the storm, and refusing his calling in life. It was a growing time for Jonah. Sometimes in my life, I’ve endured being uncomfortable, isolated, and unhappy but those were moments when God was growing me, strengthening me, and helping me become what he’d created me to be. Sometimes God will allow you to feel like Jonah in order to get your attention and grow you.

Finally, Jonah’s rebellion didn’t just effect him. His rebellion sent ripples out to effect others he touched. His own family missed him and the sailors on the boat lost cargo and felt as though they’d lose their lives. Never believe your sin is just confined to you. It effects others in your life as well.

So, what do we learn from Jonah? Realize God is with you always. He is always in pursuit of you. God wants the very best for you so follow his plan for your life. That can be found in the life of Jesus Christ. Finally, realize the choices you make, however seemingly small, affect more than just you. Lean into God. He’s got a plan for you. Trust him and discover the incredible life he has for you. Blessings on the journey.