(This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s message: Grace for All…Grace Pursues – LISTEN HERE)
I have spent zero minutes in the belly of a fish. The largest fish I have handled is probably a 4-5 pound northern pike. I’ve seen dolphins in person and have watched killer whales at the marine parks.
So my qualifications to speak about the experience of one who survived three days and three nights in the belly of a fish or minimal.
But here’s what I do know…or at least safely imagine. It was wet and slimy and dark with an air pocket to sustain life.
So in the dark, grossness of the belly of a fish Jonah prays:
2 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. 2 He said:
“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
3 You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’
5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.
7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the LORD.”
10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
I can only imagine the emotions, the panic, the desperation as the waters came around Jonah, as the fish came up to Jonah and swallowed him. He didn’t know if he was going to live or die, but he cried out to the Lord.
In moments of great distress, it is natural for a person to cry out to God. As some have said, “There are no atheists in a fox hole.” When life is on the line we cry out to God. God heard Jonah’s cry and listened and answered.
Psalm 18:6 In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.
God’s promise to his children is that he will hear and answer our cries of distress from the “belly of the fish” or whatever situation in which we find ourselves.
It doesn’t mean it’s the ONLY time to cry out to the Lord…but it is A time!
Apply: At times of distress it perhaps doesn’t seem like the Lord is hearing because his answer isn’t what we want. Take time to determine how the Lord IS listening and answering.
PRAYER: Lord, thank you for listening to my prayers at all times, but especially in times of distress. AMEN.