This is a continuing glimpse into the life of Jonah the prophet and the mission God gives him. This is for everyone who has ever run from God or faced tremendous storms.
13 The men rowed to reach dry land, but they couldn’t manage it because the sea continued to rage against them. 14 So they called on the Lord, saying, “Please, Lord, don’t let us perish on account of this man’s life, and don’t blame us for innocent blood! You are the Lord: whatever you want, you can do.” 15 Then they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased its raging. 16 The men worshipped the Lord with a profound reverence; they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made solemn promises. – Jonah 1:13-16 (CEB)
Have you ever been in the place where you’ve thrown up a prayer of desperation?
So many situations can bring us to that place. And, it is in those moments that our prayers can become laser focused on what we are facing.
That’s where we have arrived in the story of Jonah. Just to catch you up:
- Jonah was given a mission from God: Go to Nineveh.
- Jonah makes a decision to run and he boards a boat heading in the opposite direction.
- The ship faces a severe storm at sea and the captain finds Jonah asleep in the boat.
- Jonah tells them it is his fault and they need to throw him into the sea.
- The crew has thrown their cargo in the sea in an attempt to save their own lives. They’ve prayed to their gods. And, now, they turn to Jonah’s God.
Those sailors move to desperate prayers: God, don’t blame us. God, we don’t want to die on his behalf. God, whatever you want to do, we’ll do.
Many of us pray those prayers of desperation. We barter and beg and promise God, “if only… then I’ll…” Desperate times lead us to desperate prayers.
Fearing for their lives, the sailors decide to try prayer in action. They physically remove Jonah from their vessel in the same way they had thrown their cargo into the sea. Immediately, the storm stops and the sea becomes calm.
Their answer to what they witness? They make a sacrifice and offer promises to God. A group of idol worshippers are now worshipping God.
What does that say to us? We all go through tough times, through tough seasons in life. We all find ourselves in those places when life seems desperate and overwhelming. We try it our way, we throw up desperate prayers and we hope for miracles. It is only when we take the problem and surrender it to God (we throw it into the raging sea), that we start to find peace and the storm raging around us begins to calm.
May you find God just as close in your tough times, your trials and your desperate moments as you find him when the seas are calm. And, may you remember to worship the God who hears and answers our prayers.
Prayer: God, we sometimes turn to you in sheer desperation. We make promises and we beg to get your response. God, give us the assurance to know that you listen, that you hear and that you are close in all moments of our life. Amen.
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