“I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord” (Jonah 2:5-7, NLT).
Have you ever felt this way? Ever known such fear? Jonah knew this fear in the belly of a whale. He knew he had run from God’s desire for his life. He knew life was ebbing away, but he also realized God was just waiting on him to remember the call upon his life—to cry out to Him. From the belly of the whale Jonah praised God from snatching him from the jaws of death. He thanked God for deliverance that was not yet his and promised to fulfill his calling. “I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone. The Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach” (Jonah 2:9-10, NLT). God heard Jonah’s cry, and acted.
It took a great wind and a great whale to change Jonah’s course of action. What does it take to change mine? Perhaps not a wind or a fish, but often if takes calamity to get my attention. I, like Jonah, often run in the opposite direction from what I know God wishes me to do. Consider a circle. It has no beginning, and it has no end. If I run away from God, I might find myself on a circle running right back towards him. But for this to be true, I must, like Jonah, have a teachable attitude when confronted with the consequence of my actions. Jonah turned to God, not with complaint, but with praise. Even before deliverance, he thanked God for what he trusted would come. Jonah understood what was meant by giving God a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15).
What about you? Are you in a place of darkness because you have resisted His call? Do you feel life drowning you? Pulling you under? Remember the Lord. Remember what He asks of you. Cry out to the only One who can save you. He waits for your thankful praise from the belly of your despair. He waits for your surrender to His call upon your life. With no complaint in your heart, turn to Him with praise. What He gives is priceless joy and utter fulfillment.
Lynn Hampton Lacher