“He said: ‘In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.’” (Jonah 2:2, NIV84)
As Jonah found himself sinking into the raging sea, he must have been certain his end was near. He must have come face to face with his disobedience and its connection to God pursuing him in this deadly storm. I can only imagine the fear, guilt, and shame that Jonah felt. Even though the surface waters became calm again, there was a raging torment brewing in the heart of Jonah. So, what did he do? He prayed! Friends in Christ, if there is anything you get out of this devotion, get this: Pray! At all times, pray! It doesn’t matter whether you feel like you have a right to pray or not (and usually we don’t). It is important that we call out to God, who is the only one who can address our current situation no matter what it is. It can be about sin and guilt, relationship difficulties, work, etc. The issue doesn’t matter. What matters is that we turn to God, who alone knows and understands what we are going through. So, the fact that Jonah feared God’s wrath didn’t stop him from calling out to Him. Read the whole prayer. You will find the repentant plea of one of God’s children asking God to be faithful, and asking that if this event ended up in death God would graciously receive his repentant heart into the heavenly realms.
Why this emphasis on prayer? Because God answers prayer! Read the verse again. In the depths of the sea, God answered Jonah’s prayer. God heard his repentant cry and saved him. God provided the great fish to swallow Jonah, not as an act of punishment, but as an act of redemption. God saved Jonah’s life by causing that great fish to swallow him and protect him for three days. For Jonah, the time spent in the fish’s belly was like that of Noah and his family in the ark. The one thing that Jonah could be certain of was that he wasn’t drowning. But what was next? Why three days? There is much to discuss about what God teaches us in times when our life seems to be between states. In the belly of that great fish Jonah didn’t have much more to do than to converse with His Lord and work on his relationship with Him. This is exactly what we ought to do when we find ourselves stuck in a transition time of our lives. Note that the prayers continued. They didn’t end when Jonah was rescued. They continued as He pondered the greatness of God and his own purpose on Earth.
So when in doubt, PRAY!