It's time for Wednesday in the Word & the second edition of my Jonah study!
Last week I shared with you about how God relentlessly pursued Jonah & how he does the same for me & you! I also shared about how I am just like Jonah. Read all about it here!
As I have studied deeper about Jonah's journey, I am even more certain that I am like him. I relate to his stubbornness to follow God & his deep desire to make it right again in his prayer in chapter two.
When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,and my prayer came to you,into your holy temple.
There have been many times in my life I have realized that I blatantly chose to run in the opposite direction of God's call. There are also those moments that I realize, despite following my own will, God's plan still prevailed. That's something that is so evident in these next few chapters of Jonah. He was called to go to Nineveh & bought a ticket to the furthest place from there!
Yet, God appointed a fish (v.17) long before Jonah made his decision. Do you see that? God knew that Jonah would choose not to follow his call. Just like he knew Adam & Eve would fall. Just like he prepared a savior for us. God knows. He has a plan, a purpose.
While in small group this week, we discussed all the things we were learning in the word & I spoke about Jonah. One of the other ladies shared her experience with Jonah & I was captivated.
While we know that God appointed the whale to swallow him up, we seem to overlook the idea of protection. We envision this giant beast scooping up this tiny man & hanging out in the ocean. However when we take a step back, we see the whole plan. God not only appointed the fish, he appointed his path. I can only imagine how sweltering & stinky the belly of a fish must be. But think about it, the ocean is a scary, dangerous place. There are other creatures to worry about, it gets cold deep in the ocean, much less breathing underwater. But none of that's an issue when you've been swallowed by a God's appointed whale. That whale - that storm - Jonah was facing was NOT fun. Just like our struggles & seasons of hurting in our lives are not fun. But (there are always a but to these stories), we are still being protected from the dangers of the deep ocean or the outside world around us. Friends, do you see that picture? Our God calls us to an about face when we do wrong, but he still provides protection in the most loving way possible! We also see that when Jonah repents, the fish places him in just the right location to travel to Nineveh....to complete HIS plan.
If THAT is not a vision of a purposeful, loving God, I don't know what is!
This is critical, y'all -- God's plan will always prevail...despite your objections & unwillingness. Always.
Be encouraged though!
We serve a God that wants to use us. That pursues us. That lovingly sets us straight...countless times.
“Where could I run away from your presence…?
If I… lived far across the sea,even there your hand would… take hold of me.”
I hope you're loving Jonah as much as I am & I pray that you can relate to his trials.
Have a great rest of the week, friends!