Being like Jonah

My head was all tangled in seaweed
    at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root.
I was as far down as a body can go,
    and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—
Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive,
    O God, my God!

Jonah 2:1-9

Imagine being on the bottom of the ocean. Just think about that for a minute. I’m not talking near the shore where it’s not very far down. I’m talking way far out, where the whales swim and you probably can’t even see land.  The bottom. You couldn’t survive. The pressure of being that far under water would kill you. Pretend you’re Jonah for a minute, and you’re sinking to the bottom of the ocean, inside of a whale. You know that this is the end – you’re not coming back from this. Then, suddenly, somehow, the whale basically throws you up, spits you out, and you’re alive. On land. Then God says, “Get up and go preach my word.” You were literally just knocking on death’s door, and now God tells you to just stand up and go. No time to relax. No time to catch your breath. Just to get up and start walking toward His Will. His Will for Jonah was to overcome the ocean, and go preach His word to a falling people. But isn’t that His Will for all of us? Through my life I’ve always heard people talk about His Will for them, or how they’re trying to figure out what it is. It’s not a question to figure out. It’s not a mystery. His Will is the same for every follower. To preach His word and to love everyone. The same as Jonah. Sure, doing those things can makes itself present in different forms in each person’s life, but the underlying reason is the same for everyone. Because we love God, and we want to share that love with others.

Going back to Jonah, just being thrown onto the beach and God saying, “Get up and go.” Think about our lives. How many times do we have a small setback, or a big one, and we automatically begin to complain, whine, and find everything wrong with the situation. We call people we know and tell them how hard we have it, and how we just don’t know how we can keep going. Seriously, people? Why do we do this? How can we do this? We take an opportunity to be a witness to others, to be truly faithful in God, and we waste it. We go inward instead of outward. We turn all the focus on ourselves and what we’re going through, when we should be turning the focus on God and how much He loves us and takes care of us even in those moments. How great would it be if every time something “not so great” happens we told people how much God has blessed us, rather than how much we don’t have.

To be like Jonah. To come out of tribulation, near death, at our lowest, and just go for God.

<and yes, I realize that Jonah wasn’t perfect. He didn’t listen to God the first time around, he was an angry man and not so big on compassion, but obviously I’m saying we should focus on the getting up and going part. No one is perfect, right.>

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