And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. – Jonah 1:17 (ESV)
Let’s pretend you’re in Sunday school and your 3rd grade teacher tells you the story of Jonah and the whale. It sounds pretty cool doesn’t it? You go home and tell your mommy about the story of the man swallowed by a giant fish.
Your mom begins to tell you how great God is and what He can do. She also tells you Jonah was a Christian. You kinda dismiss the fact he was a Christian since you already assumed it anyway.
As a third grader it doesn’t connect with you how God would prepare trouble for one of His children. And it doesn’t matter anyway. You believe God and there is nothing He can’t do.
Besides, you’re tucked away in your bunk bed, with your favorite stuffed animal, and mommy and daddy are in the next room. It’s a wonderful life.
The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever. – Jonah 2:5-6 (ESV)
When the storm chases you
Now, let’s step into your future. You’re no longer eight years old or in a third grade Sunday school class. You’re unhappily married and have been for what seems like an eternity.
Your marriage has the feel of a prison sentence. You’re daily drowning in the belly of hopelessness as the weeds of discouragement are wrapping around your head and the bars of bitterness are closing upon you.
Nope, you’re not in the third grade any more. Your safe little world where God was big and trouble was small has turned into a war between two worlds and God now seems distant. The question we’re asking is, “What has changed?”
- Has God changed?
- Have you changed?
- Is God still big, good, kind, and loving?
- How have your beliefs about God changed?
- How has your world changed you?
Perhaps you’re not in a stormy marriage. Maybe your storm is some other kind of relational tension. The storm is not the main thing anyway. It’s merely the context for God to show Himself strong; we to show ourselves weak, and God to be magnified through our inability.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show