From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’ (NIV)
Those of us who have experienced “dry spells” in our Christian journey, or who feel they need to get back on track, may pray to God to resolve such issues. Such prayers are brave prayers! God may indeed restore us but it may be a bumpy ride.
Jonah is just one example of those who find God again in the depths. A storm at sea followed by an episode in the belly of a big fish brought Jonah back to his senses. The Psalmists often cry out to God from the depths of despair or despondency. It is when we are at our wit’s end that we figure only God can help us.
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None of us enjoys being in a pit of despair, or in a threatening life situation. But it may well be that for us a degree of discomfort is the key to receiving God’s comfort. If all is going well, if I figure I can manage all by myself, then I can put God aside. If my world collapses around me, I call out to him as my own resources fail.
It would be very sad if we just saw God as some sort of valuable emergency equipment, to be used in life extremes but otherwise left to gather dust. That would be to diminish God in our lives. However, it is good to know that when we strike trouble, no darkness is too dark for him, no depth is too deep for him.