Today, my Tuesday morning small group started a new study, Jonah by Priscilla Shirer. Since the video was going to be a short one, our leader decided that we would read the book of Jonah before we watched the introductory video. Each one of us took a turn to read this story of divine intervention. As it became my turn to read chapter two, I had flashbacks of last year coming to mind. I saw how God had and has delivered me and how his small quiet voice has led me to healing. In those few moments of reading, I felt the Holy Spirit wrap around me and embrace me.
Before I continue on, read with me Jonah’s prayer to God as he sat in the belly of the fish.
Jonah’s Prayer NIV
In my distress I called to the LORD
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You have hurled me into the depths,
in to the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled around me.;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
I said, “I have been banished
from your sight,
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.
The engulfing waters threaten me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath me barred me forever.
But you, LORD my God,
brought my life from the pit.
When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you LORD,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
with sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, “Salvation comes from the LORD.”
And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
You see, God had a plan for Jonah’s life. Jonah was one of the prophets. Yet, he would not listen to God’s instructions and follow through on God’s calling. God wanted Jonah to go preach in Nineveh. Nineveh was not the purest of places. It was a place of false gods, denying the true God and exploiting the hopeless, and the list can go on of the wickedness of Nineveh. However, Jonah did not feel like he could handle this calling from God. He didn’t want to face this task and what would be somewhat of a challenge. Instead, he chose to run from God. However, as we read, running from God got Jonah nowhere but in the belly of a big fish!
I have written blogs about how I thought how my plans should go. Yet, in the midst of those plans, God sends an interruption and sometimes these interruptions have caused me to make a U-turn or have put me on a course I didn’t even think I would be going.
There have been times when these interruptions made me feel like Jonah sitting in the belly of a big fish. It felt as though waves were crashing around me and I was in a pit so deep I didn’t think I could even begin to crawl out. Yes, I have even been tempted and even tried to run from God instead of to him when these interruptions have occurred. However, deep in my soul I knew and know running is not the answer.
Fall 2014 I found myself one afternoon crying out to God. My ability to withstand the waves in the belly of all that was going on in my life had become more than I could handle. Through what seemed to be one big tidal wave, I stretched my hand out to God asking him to help me.
The God whom I felt had become silent spoke to me. He sent whispers of hope through scripture, through people and turning my eyes into a different and new direction. It was a direction I never thought I would take. Yet, it was during this tidal wave where God revealed his plan for me and showed me it was time for a new season in my life.
After reading the scripture aloud in my group this morning, I shared how this scripture was impacting me at that very moment. I shared where I had been and where I hear God leading me. It is in this new season God has brought me to healing. No, I am not totally healed and it is a process. As each day passes, I seek God’s blessings in the midst of the interruptions. The biggest lesson is that it is far better to run to God rather than run from God. It is in running to God and crying out to him in the midst of the waves is where he reaches down and pulls us out of the belly of the fish. As this rescue process takes place, new birth (salvation) comes into place.
As a reader, you may be experiencing your own set of tidal waves. I encourage you to don’t give up and to be in tuned to God’s voice. Most importantly don’t run from God but run to him.