Words from the Heart for Sunday September 16th, 2018
You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.
Jonah 2:3 (NLT)
Jonah experienced the wonders of the watery world beneath the wild and stormy waves. He also experienced the gracious provision of the Lord. The chambers of oxygen within the great fish kept him alive. Jonah’s disobedience would have destroyed him completely except for the merciful rescue by the Lord.
The Spring 2017 snowmelt around Fort McMurray usually revealed rolling hills of orange and yellow that were soon awash in green. But that year, the charred tree stumps surrounding the city were the standouts as a landscape that just months before had been engulfed in fire slowly regenerates. According to Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta, it will be 15 to 20 years before enough vegetation – and fuel sources – returns before a repeat of the May 2016 wildfire is possible.
Have you noticed that people don’t tend to enjoy challenging times? It is a rare person who is able to cope with pain and in the midst of it see something beneficial about it. For those of us who are followers of Jesus, it is particularly challenging when it appears that the Lord has led us into those situations. But, it is a Biblical principle that God often takes us into challenging places. The Gospels tell us, for example, that it was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days and then was tempted by the devil. And Jonah said this in Jonah 2:3: “You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.” It was while in the belly of the fish that Jonah came to his spiritual senses and fled back to the Lord. It is often in these “belly of the fish” times that God gets our attention. If you find yourself there right now, ask yourself how the Lord is calling you to respond.
These have been words from the heart.