Skip to main content

A "Big Fish" Moment

In moments of rebellion, there comes a time of realization - the moment in time when we realize just how far we have drifted from what God would have wanted for our lives.  In this moment, we often look up - simply because there is just no help in looking down!  If we looked down - we'd only see our problem!  When we look up - we see our hope for deliverance!


I was as far down as a body can go, and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive, O God, my God!  When my life was slipping away, I remembered God, and my prayer got through to you, made it all the way to your Holy Temple.  Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love.  But I'm worshiping you, God, calling out in thanksgiving!  And I'll do what I promised I'd do!  Salvation belongs to God!  (Jonah 2:6-10 The Message)


As far as we can go - a description of the distance we have placed between God's direction in our lives and our obedience!  Doors slamming shut forever - or so it seems in our finite understanding of the place we find ourselves.  Yet...in the midst of our despair...God is never far from us.


It is indeed a shame for us to get to the place where our "lives are slipping away from us" before realizing how much our disobedience has cost us.  Jonah is an example to us of redemption - grace where it is least deserved.  In the place of rebellion, we don't realize how much of "life" is slipping away from us.  It may not be our literal "life", but it is indeed our spiritual life.  We don't sense the loss associated in the point between God's direction and our continual resistance to his will.  Yet, this "drift" is real - and it has a way of "distancing" us from God. 


Jonah was in such a place.  I have no idea what type of fish swallowed him up - nor am I going to speculate on this one.  I do know scripture says God prepared a place for him - a place for him to come to the realization of his need.  This is God's way!  He knows the exact point of our turning and he prepares the exact place for the "dawning" of our awareness of intense need for restoration.  We may not get swallowed by a big fish, but I am sure we have all experienced some "big fish" moments!  The "stuff" we are in just isn't all that pleasant - it smells awful, it makes us feel awful, and it gives us a sense of darkness which just envelopes us.


The "big fish" moment may be what some refer to as "coming to an end of our rope" or "reaching rock bottom".  Whatever the expression, the need is the same - deliverance!  David finds himself in the misery of covering up his sin with Bathsheba, torn apart by his compounding it with the murder of her husband.  His bones ache, his mood is foul, and he has no joy in all the luxuries he is surrounded with as King of Israel.  Sin has this effect - it robs us of even the pleasures we once took so much for granted.


God's mercy allows for us to get to "rock bottom".  It also provides a way for us to get on solid ground again!  The very next part of the passage states, "Then God spoke to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore."  Out of darkness, God brought sound footing again!  Look at when God does this, though.  It is not when he first goes overboard - there has been a passage of time in which Jonah comes to a place of realizing he has been running from the very thing God desired for him.  David had this same "span" between his disobedience and God's sending Nathan to him to tell him the story of his sin and the hope for his deliverance.  


We often need the "span" in order to come to a place of submission.  We just don't recognize our misery until it has become our undoing.  Truly, this is a sad reality, but one we see played out in life after life - including our own.  Yet, there is hope beyond our imagining!  In the moment of "rock bottom", God is prepared with the next move!  In the moment of our cry for help, his actions are swift on our behalf.  This is the God we serve - merciful, moved by compassion, and swift to provide for his children.  


It is far better to never reach the place of distancing ourselves from God - but if we have, we can rest in the assurance of his grace!  I don't know what "whale" has swallowed you whole, but I do know the seashore of God's deliverance awaits!  All it takes is a cry for forgiveness!  He does the rest!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…