August 11, 2011

When Life Is the Pits

Jonah 1:17-2:10

“Salvation comes from the Lord.”
Jonah 2:9


People have said, “Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it!” Jonah might have felt that way. Jonah tried to run away from God, and now he was plunged into “the deep,” believed to be “the realm of the dead” in those times, where you were totally cut off from life, separated even from God. But as Jonah sank into the dark, stormy sea, God sent a fish to swallow him whole.

Jonah describes the ordeal this way: “From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help.” Realizing that he didn’t really want to be separated from God, Jonah called for help, and the Lord listened to his cry.

Humanly speaking, Jonah’s life was over when he sank in the stormy sea. Still, Jonah cried out to God. And God heard! God wasn’t finished with Jonah, so God did the “impossible”—he brought Jonah up from the pit. GoddeliveredJonahfromdeath’s grip. Jonah thus closed his psalm with confidence: “Salvation comes from the Lord.”

Perhaps you are running from God, and, like Jonah, you’re learning that apart from God you experience no real life at all, only a descent into despair. The good news is that when we believe in Jesus, God raises us up from spiritual death and draws us into a living and loving relationship with him. We too can joyfully declare, “Salvation comes from the Lord”!

God, we often imagine we are better off without you. Forgive us our pride, and help us to live each day in the newness of life you have given us. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Rob Toornstra

Rob Toornstra has served as pastor of Sunnyslope Christian Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, since 2006. When not busy with pastoral duties, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

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