Jonah 1 - 2
I've always loved the story of Jonah. As a child, the thought of a giant fish swallowing Jonah up and spitting him out because he disobeyed the Lord was pretty cool. I've pretty much always been a rule-follower. I know that breaking a rule has consequences and so the idea of Jonah getting what he deserved made sense to me. It should have been easy for Jonah to just follow the Lord's commands, right?
Now, as an adult, I have a very different perspective. While I haven't heard the voice of God, I know that He calls me to take the gospel to those in my own neighborhood. Which I usually choose to ignore because thoughts of being uncomfortable come racing into my brain. They are quickly followed by fears of rejection. Finally, I think to myself this gem, "If they wanted to find God, they could just go to any church and anyone would be happy to talk with them." Yeah, thats me and suddenly I'm thankful that I haven't (yet) found my way into the belly of a giant fish.
In chapter two we find Jonah there, with weeds wrapped around his head and he finally decides to pray. The Bible says that he was there three days and three nights before he finally calls out to God. I can imagine those three days and nights. If it were me, I would be sitting there making every excuse in the book, blaming this all on God or the Ninevites or even the fish. As he's about to die Jonah finally starts praying and he ends with this:
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!
And then Jonah was vomited onto dry land.
I was reading this, thinking about Jonah and God and me. I realized that it usually takes me a bit of time to finally pray about whatever dilemma I am facing. I'm stubborn, like Jonah, I wait until I am about to break under pressure to finally cry out to my God who is waiting to hear from me. I am grateful that God is loving and forgives us. But I'm convicted that I need to make prayer my default response to trouble.