Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach. Jonah 3:10 (NLT)
We often daydream our way out of the office of regular life onto the beautiful beaches of paradise! No one needs to be reminded we live in a broken world but sometimes we need to remember that God did not break it, we did (See Gen. 3). God issued us all the warning that there would now be severe wear and tear on our hearts and minds as we travel through this world.
John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Take heart is a command so it’s something we can choose to do, not something God has to do for us. Like taking captive our rouge thoughts and making them obedient to Truth is also a command we can choose to obey (See 2 Cor. 10:5). God has made us capable human beings and commissioned us each, with great purpose as we journey Home. However He never expected us to do it alone!
The story of Jonah is one of second chances… disobedience, discipline and deliverance; and aren’t we glad it is!! Desperation often leads to determination which can lead to faithfulness and thus fruitfulness, by God’s amazing grace!!
Jonah’s name means “dove”. A dove is a bird and birds have a “bird’s eye view” literally on approaching storms. They can see what’s coming and quickly take cover to ride it out. What we call “safe” might just be an escape from really living the adventure God originally planned for us. Jonah is found hunkered down in the bottom of a boat during a wild storm (See Jonah 1)!
A dove is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to help us navigate and successfully weather the storms of life, not numbly sleep through them! 1 These. 5:19 advises us not to quench the Holy Spirit! Don’t numb out of the true and abundant life God meant for us!
Jonah was found in a storm created by his own missteps and sometimes we do too. We can also end up in a storm due to someone else’s missteps. However the Holy Spirit’s life saving power works the same either way!
Jonah soon finds out that numbing out of a storm only leads to a greater storm within and without. He eventually finds himself engulfed by the mighty waters, buried beneath the wild and stormy waves! Jonah 2:6-7 (NLT) “I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisioned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple.
Jonah may have seen himself as a helpless dove bird but God saw His child empowered by The Dove or rather The Holy Spirit who breathes new life into anyone that will cry out to Him!! The Holy Spirit who empowers anyone to not only survive, but thrive through any storm this broken world would whirl at them!! When fire hits the faithful the enemy can’t believe his eyes!! Genesis 50:20 (NIV) You intended to harm me, by God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
God had given Jonah an assignment that Jonah paid to get out of. The enemy is always ready to take our fare we too often are so willing to pay! God also gave Jonah an opportunity to get back on assignment… that opportunity was an Uber of sorts. A literal whale sized Uber Jonah probably never would have expected or even could have imagined (See Eph. 3:20)!!
Don’t miss your ride to begin life anew, to try again, to ask forgiveness, to say “I’m sorry”, to believe for the miracle or to reframe your unmet expectation with open ended God sized expectancy… don’t miss your opportunity to get back to your God given abundant life (even amidst the wreckage of this broken world). Opportunity has a way of presenting itself in ways and times we might least expect… like an Uber that happens to be whale shaped!
Jonah prayed and praised God even from the belly of a whale and wouldn’t you know… worship wins the battle over worry every time and Jonah arrived safely through the storm on the wings of The Dove because even at his worst, he was still, very much, loved.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:26-27 (NIV)
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:23-24 (NLT) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)