Never having been in the belly of a fish, I cannot tell you what it looks like from the inside out, no one can, not even Jonah – the guy in the Bible who spent three days trying too. Now you can believe me on this one. Being an avid fisherman over the years, I have seen hundreds of fish, all kinds of fish; In lakes and streams; rivers, oceans and of course, aquariums, places like Sea World – fish more than big enough to swallow a man whole. But in all my days (22,310 as of this writing), what I have not seen is a fish having windows. Not the Microsoft version, mind you, but the type made out of glass, the ones you find in homes and buildings that let the light shine through.
Bearing that in mind, it must have been terribly dark in the living quarters Jonah found himself in after having been tossed overboard and swallowed whole. I would venture to say, pitch black, total darkness, more like a tomb; and I am pretty sure if Jonah was in a state of consciousness those 72 endless hours (and I believe he was), it was the absolute worse trifecta of days he had ever known. I mean, even if he had a “Wilson” to keep him company like Tom Hanks had in Castaway, he wouldn’t have been able to see it.
Running from God, as did Jonah, is sure to turn out bad, and you can bank on this: If it takes darkness to bring you to the light. Don’t be surprised when that thick black ominous looking squaw line comes drifting your way. Trust me, those warning sirens are going to crank up and it’s going to get bad, real bad, downright ruthless.
Listen, never underestimate God’s level of resolve and remember, he doesn’t play fair. God loves you, and will go to whatever extremes necessary to put you back on track – count on it.
Now, while we’re talking about Jonah, let’s consider this; Not everyone will hear from God with instructions to go to a place like Nineveh with a message of do or die to proclaim as did the prophet. Not everyone will be given a divine assignment to serve in the foreign missions field or even to relocate from where you are now to a different state, city or town. In fact, sometimes God’s directive is as simple as, stay put – don’t go anywhere. Don’t change jobs, don’t change schools, don’t change a thing but your socks and underwear – but, we do.
Church is a good example of this. God leads us to a place of worship, and we jump in headlong, certain it is his will that we be there, and it is. After a few months, though, maybe a year or two, we change churches – again. In my day, we called such people church hoppers. What they are, however, is people just like Jonah, the only difference being Jonah knew he was running. Church hoppers, on the other hand, don’t. They have been running from God so long they know longer realize that is why they are always out of breath, spiritually speaking. Either way, sooner or later the lights go out and things grow dark.
The Psalmist said this, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:8a).
Is this God’s call on your life at the moment – Be still, stay put, go nowhere? Might it be God wants for you to be in and grow in community with other believers, simply to bloom where you’ve been planted? Then, should God ever have a Nineveh for you to go to, you’ll be equipped and readied to do the job he sends you to do without fear of doing it, and you will know as did the Psalmist, he is God.
NOTE: This devotional was inspired by co-pastor, Randy Wade, of the Community Life Church in Forney, Texas. You can view the complete sermon delivered by Pastor Randy by clicking this link http://www.vimeo.com/144418815 For information concerning Community Life Church, go to http://www.clifec.com