I was recently reading the familiar story of Jonah. You know the one…Jonah is told by God to do something, Jonah decides to do something else, God is unhappy with Jonah.
So God sends a hurricane to the Mediterranean to capture Jonah’s attention. You see, God doesn’t really appreciate it when we choose to disobey a direct order. In the middle of this storm, Jonah gets the picture (with the help of a few sailors) and surrenders himself to the purposes of God. Then the sailors throw him overboard…to die.
Think about it from Jonah’s perspective. He had no way of knowing that God wasn’t finished with him yet. From Jonah’s perspective he was being rightfully punished for his disobedience by sinking to his death.
Of course, we know that God had other plans. He sends a big fish to rescue Jonah. Hmm…can you imagine what that experience was really like? We’ve seen the cartoons. From Pinocchio to Veggie Tales, we have this image of a big, cave-like room. There are pieces of shipwrecks around…if not full ships. There’s lots of air, even a fire to keep warm. Really?
The temperature at the bottom of the ocean is just above freezing. The air would have been recycled through the fish’s system (think of airplane air…before it takes off!). He’d be surrounded by fish guts, seaweed, stomach bile, his own digestive junk (the most un-offensive way I can think to say it), not much room to move (talk about claustrophobic). Clearly he wasn’t staying at the Four Seasons Hotel.
What would you do in that moment? What would your attitude be? Me…I’d be complaining, whining, shivering. My thought would be, “You’re King of the Universe and this is all you can send to save me?” Not very sanctified on my part.
Jonah worshiped. Chapter two of the book of Jonah captures the worship of Jonah’s heart. He was thankful. Given the death sentence he had just eluded, he was grateful that any lifeboat had shown up…not picky that it didn’t look the way he wanted it to.
How many times in our lives does God come to our rescue and we complain that he sends a fish and not a yacht? How many times do we complain in the face of challenging situations, instead of worshiping with grateful hearts that he loves us enough to rescue us at all?
Whatever challenge you face right now…will you worship?