“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: “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. 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. I said, “I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “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.’” And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” ~Jonah 2:1-10
This past week Mandy Harvey displayed her singing talent on “America’s Got Talent” and was showered with confetti. As of the writing of this devotion the song she wrote and performed, “Try”, is number 46 on the iTunes charts. When asked about the meaning of the song, Mandy said, “After I lost my hearing, I gave up. But I want to do more with my life than just give up.” Mandy’s story and the lyrics to “Try” are inspiring because when her life headed in an unexpected direction she chose to not give up. The character in our Real Life Women devotional series this month wanted to give up. However, different from Mandy, Jonah wanted to give up because he chose to disobey God when his life headed in an unexpected direction. Jonah got off track and ended up in a bad place from which he could not rescue himself. Do you find Jonah’s predicament relatable? I certainly do. Here are three steps to getting back on track when we have run away from God.
Jonah remembered. In Jonah 2:7 it says, “When my life was ebbing away I remembered you Lord…” Jonah knew better than to run away from the Lord. He was a famous statesman and a prophet who had ministered to God’s people. So what did he remember? He remembered God’s truth that obedience is the way to get back on track. He remembered to look again to God and trust that, while God had given him the most uncomfortable task of trying to save a group of people who were trying to destroy Jonah’s people, God’s plans to show mercy to his enemy was more important than his comfort.
Jonah repented and prayed. When Jonah prayed, God heard his prayer and answered immediately. “From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” (Jonah 2:2) When we are running from God and have run so far that we can’t see any possible way back, we pray. God showed Jonah extraordinary mercy so that Jonah could show the Ninevites extraordinary mercy.
Jonah obeyed. Even though we run away from God like Jonah, if we repent of our sins and pray to God, he is sure to answer our prayers. (I John 1:9) God is a forgiving God and had a plan to save a people group and Jonah was a part of making that happen. God didn’t let him run away easily, neither will God let you. God willingly uses human beings with all their failures and stubbornness to change their corner of the world. In repentance Jonah proclaimed, “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.’”
When we have disobeyed God, gotten off track and ended up in a bad place from which we cannot rescue ourselves, remember the Lord. Call to him for help and obey his plan for your life. And when we do we will be delivered from our distress. God longs for you to experience his extraordinary mercy. He wants us to not give up!
Exhale your weary heart, rebellion and disobedience. Inhale forgiveness and acceptance of God’s call on your life.
My God, when I run from you and your will for my life, I end up surrounded by my failures. I call on you to help me as I repent and desire to obey your plan for my life. Thank you for your mercy. I love you. In Jesus name, Amen
Today’s post was written by Beth Holland.
Beth Holland lives to make a difference that will encourage, inspire and impact lives for eternity. She loves to write, travel, read and work on significant projects. You can often find her spending time with her family at local parks, museums or the beach. Being the mother of two grown children, son Micah (soon to be married to Alyssa) and daughter Ashley Elizabeth and married for over 30 years to the love of her life, Dan, is what she is most thankful for. She can be found on Sunday mornings at Real Life Christian Church | Kaley Campus.
Join us in our Summer Reading Plan. Download the plan here and kick off the book of Jonah by watching this video: