Friday, August 7, 2015

In the Belly of the Fish

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, "I called out of my distress to the LORD, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice. "For You had cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me. "So I said, 'I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.' "Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head. "I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. "While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, And my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple. "Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness, But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD." Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.  Jonah 2:1-10 NASB

Most are very familiar with the story of Jonah and the big fish.  There are times in our lives when God will allow a painful situation or a painful circumstance in our life to "swallow us up."  This season in our spiritual growth puts us in a holding pattern.  We can't move to the left or the right.  All we can do is sit, like Jonah sat in the belly of that great fish, so God can have our undivided attention and speak to us.

God put Jonah in this place because He needed to speak to his heart.  Here Jonah was all alone.  There were no friends to call, no colleagues to drop by, no books to read, no food to eat, no interferences, or interruptions.  He had plenty of time to sit, think, meditate, and pray.

When we're deep down in the midst of a difficult situation, God can talk to us.  When He has our undivided attention, He can show us things about ourselves that we might not otherwise have seen.

A Few Of God's Holding Patterns:
  1. When you are sick in your physical body and you have prayed, but God has not healed you yet, you are in a holding pattern.
  2. When you are having problems with your children and you have put them on the altar, but God has not delivered them yet, you are in a holding pattern.
  3. When you have been praying for the salvation of a loved one and they have not been saved yet, you are in a holding pattern.
  4. When the loss of someone dear brings a season of grief that won’t seem to end.
  5. When you are in a broken relationship and you have given it over to God, but it has not been restored yet, you are in a holding pattern.
  6. When the doors slam shut before you can knock on them, you are in a holding pattern.
When we are deep in the belly of a difficult situation, there are no interruptions.  God has our undivided attention.  All we can do is sit, think, meditate, and pray.  We cannot run from God because there are no mountains that are high enough, valleys that are low enough, rivers that are wide enough, rooms that are dark enough, or places that are hidden enough from Him.  We must remember to praise Him while we're waiting and remember three things:

  1. God has a purpose.
  2. God has a plan.
  3. God has a process.
So stop struggling and start listening, praying and trusting.  He'll keep you right where you are until you can clearly hear Him say, "You can trust me because I love you."
Scripture to Claim: 

Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand.  Psalms 20:6 NASB

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