As I prepare to preach on Jonah 2 this coming Sunday, I have been struck by the picture of God's sovereignty that we see throughout the book of Jonah.
Specifically in chapter 2, we find Jonah recalling his prayer from when he was in the belly of the fish. This is fascinating to read and put ourselves in his shoes, imagining what it would have been like to be tossed overboard, be thrashed and driven by the waves, and to eventually sink deeper and deeper into the depths.
Can you imagine the thoughts running through Jonah's head in that moment? After being tossed overboard by the mariners I can imagine Jonah thinking "Well, this is it...it's over" and I imagine God saying "Oh, not yet, Jonah!" As he can no longer hold his breath, I imagine Jonah loosing consciousness, and in that moment the Lord appoints the great fish to swallow and ultimately save Jonah's life. Talk about the caring and gracious hand of a loving and sovereign Father!
Jonah didn't deserve to be saved but God had great plans in store for Jonah. (Sound familiar?)
The first half of Jonah's prayer describes a descending string of events and at the end of verse 6 there's a turning point and it's when God intervenes, saves Jonah's life, and Jonah has a massive reality check. God is the one in charge of the storm, the waves, and the fish that He appointed to save Jonah's life. It seems that Jonah has a "light bulb" moment and finally finds his place and proper perspective in the story. God is sovereign over all and there's not one thing Jonah can do about it!
He tried running from God. He tried sleeping through the storm. He tried to commit suicide. Yet God still had full control over every moment in the story. I love the end of Jonah's prayer where he confesses with joy and excitement that "Salvation belongs to the LORD!". Jonah learned firsthand that every moment in his life was under the perfect care of a loving Father. It was from that reality that Jonah was then able to fulfill his mission to warn Nineveh of the coming judgment. What an incredible turn of events!
Often times I think we are a lot like Jonah. We learn of the plans God has for us and we run. We think we know best - because we've thought it out and our way makes sense. Or, other times, we're in the midst of God's plan yet we're lazy and we hide out in the belly of the boat, fast asleep. Other times we just want to call it quits and give up completely. These are real struggles and they come with real emotions. Without a doubt, these are hard realities and it's hard to walk with and follow God sometimes because we don't see the whole picture. My encouragement to you is to have the conversation with God about those things - don't just run.
Embrace the tension - God wants to teach you something!
Where are you today?
- What areas of your life do you try to control? Are you a micromanager of God's plans?
- What areas of your life are you trying to be God?
- Does God truly call all the shots in your life?
- What do you need to confess to God today?
It is my prayer that we would humbly rest in the sovereignty of God, knowing that His plan and will is perfect. If we truly believe that then our lives should be marked by submission, obedience, humility, and faithful endurance.
For His Kingdom,