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by: Caroline Hand //// January 12, 2021

    Imagine you are Jonah. You clearly hear God’s instructions to you, but you refuse. Instead, you attempt to run away from Him. As far as you can go…the ocean seems like a good choice. And you begin to think you are in the clear, that God has moved on. So you fall asleep inside the ship, pleased with yourself and your escape. 

    But then, someone shakes you awake. And you realize, the boat is rocking precariously under a mighty, treacherous storm. And you know. God sent this storm because He knows where I am. Goodness, how could he know where I am!?! I don’t even know where I am! You try to stay quiet, but all the men know in their hearts, you are the problem. God is after you. 

    Finally, you confess. “Throw me into the sea and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” At first the men try to row back instead of dumping you overboard, but can’t. So, at last, you are tossed into the raging sea, which grows calm instantaneously.

    You expect to hit the tumultuous water and drown, but you land on something warm and rough. And darkness fills your senses. You let the darkness consume you. You let it seep into your soul, every part of you. You stay like that for a while. Maybe a day or two. Just letting nothingness, blackness, void enter into you. 

    On the third day, you realize you don’t want to live like this any longer. You miss the days of hearing God’s voice. You realize that you’ve let everything that’s not God into your heart. You’ve let disobedience and bitterness lead you astray from His presence. So you cry out. “God have mercy on me.” And before your situation changes, you know deep within you God has saved you. So, you begin to sing a song to Him. 

“In my distress I called to the LORD,

And He answered me;

Out of the belly of hell I cried for help, 

And You heard my voice.

For You cast me into the deep,

Into the heart of the seas,

And the currents swirled about me;

All Your waves and breakers swept over me.

Then I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; 

Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’

When my soul was fainting within me,

I remembered the LORD,

And my prayer came to You,

Into Your holy temple.

I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to You.

What I have vowed I will make good. 

Salvation comes from the LORD.”

    And at the finish of your song you emerge onto dry, sandy land with a brilliant sun warming every inch of you. And this time, when you hear the voice of God calling you again… You listen. You obey. You go. Immediately. No hesitation.