10 years ago, my little family was walking through a pretty rough season. We were under immense financial stress. Our baby had been born with a life threatening birth defect we knew nothing about. I left behind a ministry I had poured my heart and soul into for years. And our financial struggles finally got to the point where we had to move out of our house – and leave my hometown.
It was several years before we started to get back on our feet and those years were the hardest of my life. When God began to piece our lives back together and we started to catch our breath, Jonah’s prayer became a favorite of mine. Specifically Chapter 2, Verse 6: To the roots of the mountains I sank down, the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. He had brought us back from the pit and I was so grateful.
I haven’t studied the book of Jonah in a while – but those verses still echo in my head on many occasions. When I found myself digging into the scripture in preparation for this series, something struck me that I’d missed during those times of struggle. 4 little words that are so easy to skim over.
“From inside the fish…”
This prayer of faith and praise. This story of God’s saving grace — it wasn’t spoken after Jonah was returned safely to the shore. It was prayed from the belly of the fish. From total darkness. On the brink of what most people would consider certain death.
This prayer, so confident that it’s spoken as if it has already happened. You brought my life up from the pit.
It brings to mind Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Jonah had this confidence.
My family (like so many) is in another period of uncertainty right now. And although we aren’t struggling like we were 10 years ago, I find myself wanting to see the plan God has for us and frustrated that it isn’t being revealed to me. I need ‘from inside the fish’ faith. The faith to speak my prayers as if they are already answered. To remember that God is the light for my path; that he finishes what he starts; and that He is so, so good.
Jonah isn’t always considered a hero of the faith. His story is one of mistakes and stumbles. Much like mine. But from the darkness, he sets this amazing example for us. This example of certainty in the worst of times. He reminds us that even when we are in the depths, God is never far from us and that He is always worthy of our confidence and our praise.
Thrive in Five – One set of Bible verses, 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Let’s dive into God’s Word.
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
“When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
“Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
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.’”