When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord. –Jonah 2:7
Most people are somewhat familiar with the story of Jonah. Who doesn’t love a “big fish story”? Modern day anglers continue to discuss the mystery of a fish large enough to swallow a grown man.
In the above scripture, Jonah is in the belly of a large fish. He had been there for three days and three nights. At this point, some would argue about whether or not it was a literal fish, or if it was really three days and three nights, or even if this story is fact or allegory. However, to stumble around these arguments seems to trivialize the larger lesson at hand. Verse 7 reads, “When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord.” One has to wonder why it took Jonah so long to realize his desperation and his need for God? How long does one have to be fish food before seeking a little help? If it had been me, I think I would have called out immediately…or would I?
Chances are, my pride would have kicked in much like Jonah’s appeared to do. Pride screams, “I can do it myself,” “I don’t need anyone’s help,” or, “I got myself into this mess, I’ll get myself out.” Why is it that instead of immediately turning to God when things get messy we turn to our spouse, neighbors, co-workers, counselors, or even horoscopes and psychics? Can we not trust the Living God of the Universe who knows us, loves us and is waiting to help us? Unfortunately, most of us must answer no. Pride is truly an ugly monster.
The Old Testament book of Proverbs is full of sayings regarding pride but Proverbs 11:2 stands out. It reads, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Sharing our burdens and concerns with those who love us and know us well is important. But, when we find ourselves in trouble we shouldn’t make God our last resort. In fact, 1 Peter 5:7 reads, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Once Jonah returned his thoughts to God, his prayer was answered. Jonah 2:10 reads, “Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit up Jonah on the beach, and it did.” It’s never too late to call out to God and ask for help. Perhaps you feel like Jonah, surrounded in darkness, swirling in confusion, and honestly, you’re starting to smell like three-day-old fish food. Turn your thoughts once more to God. Seek his help and come out of the storm.
1. What areas of life do you demonstrate that you have pride issues? What action(s) can you take to become more humble?
2. What situation in your life do you need to give to God today?
Jonah 1 – 4