Josiah shivered from the dampness of his enclosed surroundings. Water dripped from the low ceiling onto his face. Wiping it away, he thought back to the conversation he had with his boss. Was it only a week ago?
“You want me to do what?” Josiah plunked himself in his office chair.
“You heard me.” Gary crossed his arms. “Go to Niuatoputapu.”
“Where exactly is Niuatop…I can’t even pronounce it.”
“Tonga, Pacific Ocean.”
Josiah threw his hands in the air. “Why?”
“A mission of mercy—health supplies.”
“No. I can’t do it.”
Gary tapped his toe on the hardwood. “You can and you will.”
A siren blasted, bringing Josiah back to the present. Why hadn’t he obeyed earlier? If he had, he wouldn’t be stuck here in the belly of this antique submarine commanded by rebel forces. By the time he got to the coastline, it was his only way over to the remote sacred island.
The intercom crackled. “Dive! Dive! Dive!” The hull moaned in disagreement as it dove deeper.
Josiah covered his head with his hands.
If only this submarine would spit him out to the safety of dry land.
What do you think went through Jonah’s mind when he sat in the belly of the fish? What would it feel like to be swallowed up?
Last week was a crazy one for me at work. I was assigned a task with an impossible deadline. After my stress level subsided slightly, I got to it. Soon, papers were strewn over my desk, binders everywhere, and different electronic folders opened on my computer. With the clock ticking, I felt swallowed up. The funny part? I had already picked the name for this week’s blog before I was given this task. Yes, God does have a sense of humor. I wondered what He wanted me to learn from this experience and the story of Jonah.
Let’s take a look at the popular story of Jonah and the big fish.
Jonah ran away from God. Did he really think he could get away? Seriously. Jonah, give your head a shake. How many times have we run away from something God is telling us? Or do we run away from a situation we need to face head on? I think we’ve all been there on that one. We skirt around an issue or shove it under the carpet. How about we put our sneakers on and run to God instead of away from Him?
Jonah discovered his mistake had consequences. Jonah boarded a ship thinking he could get away from God, but it only caused havoc for the sailors. A storm came out of nowhere and threatened the safety of the crew. Have you made a bad decision that affected others negatively? I’m sure we all have from one time or another. Sometimes we don’t think things through and that can have consequences. Let’s think before we act.
Jonah realized his mistake and corrected it. He knew instantly he messed up, so he asked the others to throw him overboard. This would calm the waters. Sounds a little drastic don’t you think? Well, sometimes we need to take drastic measures to correct our mistakes. Jonah swallowed his pride and made things right. How about we follow his example?
Jonah remained calm in the belly of the fish. Once the fish swallowed him, Jonah remained coolheaded and prayed. Probably should have done that before, huh? However, how many times have we forgotten to pray? Or we’ve been too busy? Guilty as charged. There are times we panic and do something rash. Take time to stop, take a huge breath, and relax. Wait on what God is telling you through His word or even through a fellow believer.
Was your week like mine? I know you probably have had many situations of feeling overwhelmed. We all have. Jonah made good and bad decisions. Which will you follow?
Next time we feel swallowed up, let’s take a huge breath, and exhale slowly.
What do you do to relax when you feel overwhelmed? Share with us in the comments section.
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Jonah 2:1-2 (NIV)
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.”