God will get your attention

And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17).  When God wants to speak to you, He will get your attention.  God had spoken to Jonah and instructed him to go and “call out” the people of Nineveh for their evil ways, but Jonah had other plans.  You see, he did not want to go, so he devised a pretty good plan, at least in his mind.  He would run.  Jonah 1:3, “But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.”  Yep, he would jump aboard the ship and hide.  Maybe when the “heat” had died down, he would return to his city and continue living there in peace.

What was He thinking? That the God of all creation was too busy to look for Him, or that He was not capable of seeing as far as Tarshish?  Talk about a lesson in futility.  No sooner were they out to sea than a great wind was “hurled” by the Lord, causing a tempest to arise, scaring the wits out of the mariners.  After praying hopelessly to their false Gods, they woke the sleeping Jonah and asked him why he was not praying to His God.  After explaining that he worshiped the one true God, lots were drawn, and it was decided he would be thrown overboard – something he had suggested to them.

And that is where our story really starts today.  When we think we can outrun the Lord or find a place far enough away from His sight that we cannot be found, He will put us in a place where we have to pay attention.  Can you imagine being swallowed by a fish large enough to gulp you down in one go?  And that after you were thrown overboard to face a horrific drowning death. I would think there was little comfort at first for Jonah since he must have thought he would die in the fish. However, God had other plans for him.

 

That place you think is as far down as you can go.  That deep, dark place that seems just one tiny step away from death with no hope of escape is where you have only one option.  When the devil’s shouts drown out the whispers of the Lord, He will put us in a quiet place.  He will then take our place of despair and turn it into a place of hope.  That place where we only hear the whisper of God will be the place Christ will grab our hand and pull us out of the belly of our fish. It is then that our prayers will be most sincere and we will know that Christ is our only salvation.

When Elijah fled the wrath of Jezebel, he ended up in a cave and was instructed to stand on the mount before the Lord. After a great and strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire did not produce the Lord, a sound of a low whisper was heard.  In that low whisper, Elijah heard the Lord speak to Him.  Jonah could not hear the voice of the Lord because the devil was shouting in his ear to hide from Him.  God then put Jonah in that place where he would hear the whisper.  The same applies to us.  We don’t hear God audibly, God will put us in a place where we are alone, there are no distractions, and we only have one way to look.  It is then that we will hear the whisper of God, pray earnestly and see His outstretched hands, ready to save us.

It may be perseverance to continue on in faith, the courage to face our fears, the strength to escape, or it may be friends and loved ones who become the outstretched hand of Christ and pull us out of that place of despair.  Whatever the solution, God loves you enough to put you where it is just you and Him, and then, like Jonah, you can pray for a solution.

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