The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD. – Jonah 2:5-9
Sensing that the Lord is taking us through a significant transition season, I have recently decided to scale back on the weekly message blog to quiet my spirit in seeking God’s heart. Here are some “sceneries” of this journey that I would like to share with you.
God’s preparation of our hearts to steward influence and wealth is about change – reorienting what we think is reasonable and desirable and aligning to what God wants. Because of people’s “stiffed-necked” nature, the change process that God takes us through can often seem painful, chaotic, and contradictory.
Recently, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Jonah’s case – truly the epitome of “extreme heart transformation”. In an odd way, it brought me encouragement by the assurance that: when God cares enough to get our attention and compliance, He will shake us out from our bounds of logic, justice, and sensibility. He will take us to a place where we will not only clearly understand His heart, but will also be ready to change our hearts.
Being trapped in a fish’s stomach must be one of most horrid experiences – hanging somewhere between life and death, completely blind, swaying like a crazy roller coaster, staring at the face of a painful and slow death. Is this how we perceive our situation today as we go through the “change process”? God’s ways are always sensible. But to perceive it requires a faith to see His heart’s greater picture and a willingness to step out from our bounds of logic, justice, and sensibility. Only then will the beauty of God’s wisdom and mercy become visible.
The fish experience may be frightening. But in reality, it is God’s salvation that saved Jonah from drowning. It is God’s condition that opened Jonah’s eyes and compelled him to “make good his vow”. It is God’s provision that transported Jonah to his intended destination, all expenses paid!
God’s way operated completely outside of Jonah’s logic and sensibility. Can we relate to that? How many of us are in a “fish” today – feeling blind, disoriented, out of control, while seeing our resources ebb away? In many aspects of my Kingdom assignment, I can relate to that. My encouragement to you, from one sojourner to another, is: everything will be and must be OK. The “fish” is the way of God. Just sit tight and wait for it to spit you out. When that happens, you know that you have been elevated to a new level of Kingdom authority!
God bless – as we ride the “fish” together.