Monday, April 4, 2011

Are You Living in the Belly of the Whale?

How do you know if you’re living in the belly of the whale? What if, sometime ago, you ran from God, turned away from something He had called you to and ended up in a big, stinky fish? What if, over time, you grew used to your surroundings and, while not pleasant, became comfortable, complacent, and content to simply remain there? You know, hung some curtains from the ribcage, tossed a throw rug over the pyloric sphincter and decided this wasn’t so bad after all.

What if, right now, you are living in a place that is putrid, rank and disgusting in the eyes of God, but you’ve grown oblivious to your surroundings? How do you open your spiritual eyes to see the disobedience that has become your snug abode? How do you escape the prison of your own sinfulness when you’ve ignored it for so long you hardly recognize it as sin anymore?

The story of Jonah is one we learn in Sunday School at an early age, but as adults we often overlook its application to our lives. In Jonah 1:12, Jonah tells his companions in the midst of the storm, 12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” The lesson for us is to recognize our fault and be willing to accept the consequences – however terrible they might be. Do we do that? Do we say, “I know that it is my fault…?” Do we bear the consequences or do we look for any way out of them we can find? Any quick-fix, short-cut, have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too means of escape?

The second lesson we learn is how to react once we recognize where we are. Jonah cried out to God, knowing that God was sovereignly responsible for his current circumstances, and God was solely capable of changing those circumstances. Jonah cried out,

7 “When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, LORD,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’”

He turned back to God, and praised God with confident assurance that God would deliver him from these circumstances. He prophetically knew that God would provide him the opportunity to not only obey but to testify of God’s greatness through and in the midst of his obedience.

Lord, help me to take a look around and recognize any fishy odor! Help me to never grow complacent in my sin, but to repent and return whole-heartedly to you. Help me to testify to your greatness through radical obedience that causes others to ask for a reason for the hope that lies within me. Forgive me for all the times I've run the other way instead of obeying Your leading.


  1. I love the story of Jonah and the Whale. I teach a lesson in May and if you don't mind I am going to use your analogy!

  2. Thanks Mary, I certainly don't mind. Thanks for the encouragement. :-)