After hearing Pastor Carter’s sermon on “Casting Lots”, the book of Jonah had been stuck in my head. Everywhere I looked there was something that was pointing me back to Jonah. “Ok Lord, I get it, let’s go explore Jonah and see what is so special about his story that You want me to see.” Almost immediately my attention was drawn to Jonah’s prayer, and as I read it it was as if the words lit up like a runway signaling, “Hey! Here, read these!!” Awesome! But now I was faced with one problem: now what was I to do with them?
I found myself being lead to write them out on paper, leaving spaces between the verses. Umm, ok Jesus, are we planning on converting these to those dreaded elementary common core math problems that no one can solve? But alas, I followed what my heart was telling me to do and well, I was honestly surprised at the outcome.
I just started writing in those spaces, and upon completion it occurred to me that I was lead to correlate what Jonah had experienced while reciting that prayer, with our own modern day woes and how we ourselves go through the ups and downs of life, but yet how our faith in Jesus always prevails and brings us out victorious over what tried to drag us through the depths of our despair. Even when oftentimes it is ourselves that have placed ourselves in that position by not obeying God, or as a result of our straying from Him.
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.
How often do we find ourselves crying out to Jesus for help in our darkest moments, angry, bitter, afraid and placing the blame for our situation upon Him? We feel alone, destitute, and as if He had left us, forsaken us to face our battles alone. We find ourselves shrouded in an inconsolable fear and shame, and we allow bitterness and hardheartedness to overtake our lives. We utter how life as we are living it is just not fair at all…
You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
We find ourselves drowning, thinking we absolutely can not handle or take on one more thing in our lives. There is no way that we are strong enough to handle all that is being hurled our way! Why me Lord? We find ourselves questioning why our Father has turned His back on us, for if He loved and cared for us the way His word says that He does, then surely He would not have allowed our lives to have become as they are? My God is a good God, surely He would have not forsaken me this way. We’ve yet to realize that sometimes we need to be right where we are, at absolute rock bottom so that it is His hand we reach for to climb our way back up…
I said, “I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.”
It’s encouraging isn’t it, how even in our darkest moments and through our hardest battles, we as warriors of Christ are able to hold onto that small glimmer of hope? And that hope is fueled by a much deeper rooted faith, that we know is derived from the love of our most amazing God, one that has always proven to be such a good and faithful Father…
The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.
Even as life attempts to pull us down deeper into the pits of despair, we are able to hold onto Him. For it is His love that will keep us treading to stay afloat, even through the darkest of those turbulent waters…
To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever.
And as we hit rock bottom, with no where else to go, we find ourselves crying out to Him again. This time, we do as we are told in Romans 10, at verse 13 and we declare that Jesus is Lord, and that we believe in our hearts that He raised from the dead. We give our hearts to Him. We give our lives over to Him. We devote ourselves to living our lives for Him. And He hears our cry, and He welcomes us back to Him. We cry out for salvation, and He hears us…
But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.
Our Jesus, yes our good and faithful Jesus, heard our cry and rushes to our side to help us on our climb back to where we had fallen from. With just that one decision, with just declaring those simple heartfelt words and welcoming Jesus back into your life and into your heart, He saves you. No pit is too deep, no thought is too dark, no life is too lost that He can’t find you and lead you back to where He wants you to be.
When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, and bring you back from captivity. (Jeremiah 29.12-13) Thank You Lord for being a faithful Father.
Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, “Salvation comes from the Lord.”
Those who have allowed themselves to become blinded by earthly things and can not see the love that God offers to all, will one day have a reckoning in which they too will discover all the good He desires for us all. They too will one day seek out God’s grace and His love. As for myself, I once vowed that my testimony would be one that would lead others to salvation, that would lead those with no hope to a place where there was a surplus of such. That one day, my testimony would lead the way for those lost, to redemption of themselves for themselves through His way.
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.” (Hosea 6.1-2 NIV) What a beautiful promise that holds for each of us! That regardless of what we went through, He will restore us so that we get to live in His presence! Hallelujah!!
Now I realize the odds of any of us being swallowed up by a whale to be put into a “timeout” so that we can realize that it is only through our Father will we find our salvation and the answers we need are slim to none these days, but oftentimes those dark times of our lives, I’d imagine, sure do feel about the same. Sometimes He allows us to hit our rock bottom so that it is Him that we run too. So we do seek out His help. So we do find our way back to Him and the life that He intended us to live all along.
The Lord promised us that He would always be with us, through every trial we face as in Isaiah 43.1-2 NIV, “But now, this is what the Lord says- he who created you, Jacob, he who created you, Israel; “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you: I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Just as He was with Jonah through his trials, He is with us throughout ours, too, waiting for us to call out and come back to Him.
Billie is a 40-something stay-at-home momma of five beautiful children and Grammy to three grandchildren. When not wrangling the littles, she babysits for her two adult children. You will find her gardening, canning, baking, and making the most delicious meals for her family. Billie is a multitasker juggling a team of miniature tyrants, a cat, a snake, two dogs, two rats, and nine chickens. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and studying her bible. Her passion is sharing the gospel through her writing! So, whether she’s feeding your body with delicious meals or feeding your soul through her writing, join Billie as she takes you on a journey providing you with “Food for Thought.”