Monday June 27, 2011
Blinking back the intermittent tears, I was drawn to the story of preservation, a rescue affected by the hand of God.
When we recall Jonah and the "great fish" that swallowed him (Jonah 1,2), most of us see that fish as punishment. Jonah, after all, ran from God! He "sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord" (Jonah 1:3).
As the storm rose and the ship threatened to break up, Jonah calmly tells the sailors he knows he's the cause. "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he says.
The sailors plead for God's mercy, certain that they're taking Jonah's life (v. 14). Then they toss him overboard.
But what does God do? He provides a "great fish" -- saving Jonah from what seems to be certain death. Chapter 2 recounts Jonah's prayer of thanksgiving from inside the great fish. Jonah thanks God for saving him, remembering that he called for help "from the depths of the grave" (Jonah 2:2). As life's circumstances close in on Jonah, he "looks toward His holy temple" (verse 4).
In the provision of the great fish, God brings Jonah's life up from the pit. With a song of thanksgiving, Jonah embraces the grace of God as he proclaims Him the source of salvation.
I doubt Jonah expected that a great fish would be used to preserve him. But God always has a greater plan -- one we don't expect.
So, when circumstances are closing in, what can we do? Call on Him. Trust in Him. Utter a prayer of thanksgiving, and know that our cries are heard.
When does rescue come? When we stop trying to save ourselves and turn to Him.
Those intermittent tears in the midst of Sunday's sermon? I can't begin to tell you of the fulness of a mom's heart as she watches her firstborn lead a congregation. We got to see that today -- and what a place of love it is!
A message of truth -- that we, children of Adam who run from God, are rescued, loved, and redeemed as Jonah. From the heart of a young man whose mom thanks God for His goodness as she blinks back tears.
Linking up today with Michelle at Graceful for Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday.