Aug 272015

jonah_and_the_fish_by_jamesnidea-d5swsqc“Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying, “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.

For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God.

When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!””

(Jonah 2:1–9 ESV)

Last week our family was rocked with a bad report.

The report was bad enough to rock anyone by itself, but it came on the heels of a series of bad reports that had already left us reeling.

I’ve been offline more than on… sometimes you get hit so hard that there is little left to say or any energy left to say it.

I’m telling you this in order that I might explain something else.

Theology matters.

Doctrine matters.

What do you do when things are as bad as they can get…then they get worse?

You trust in the sovereignty and mercy of God.

Jonah was the disobedient prophet who ran from what God had asked him to do.

This resulted in him ending up on a boat that was about to sink because God created a great storm.

Knowing that the storm was aimed at him, he had the boats crew throw him overboard, where he was swallowed by a great fish.

From the gut of the fish he prayed the prayer above.

Here’s what I want you to see…Jonah was a Calvinist.

At the very least, he believed in the sovereignty of God.

The men who cast him overboard were simply the hands of God.

“For you cast me into the deep”

The storm was from God.

“all your waves and your billows passed over me”

Even the fish was from God.

“yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God”

You’re never separated from the love and mercy of God…He’s just a prayer away.

“I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.”

The answers to your situation are all in Him.

“Salvation belongs to the LORD!””

My friends, I don’t know why God has you and I were we are today.

Hard times and bad reports come to the best behaved of Gods people.

I do know and believe that He is sovereign and good and merciful and nothing has befallen us that hasn’t passed through a nail scarred hand.

I know that His answers come in unexpected ways…Jonah was not praying that a fish would save him from drowning.

That way of rescue never crossed his mind.

Your rescue may be something you cannot conceive of on your own as well.

Trust in Him, rest in Him…and He will deliver you.


  33 Responses to “When Things Get Worse”

  1. Hang in there Michael.

    While none of us are getting off this rock alive, you can have peace and strength even in the middle of a big ol’ pile of b.s.

    You know what I’m going through. I know what you’re going through. And even as difficult as we’ve got it…I have friends who have faced and overcome even worse.

    Win today. One day at a time my brother. Fight to the end and leave this planet having left it all on the field.

  2. Amen, Alex.
    Thank you and bless you as you go through your trial.

  3. “Thank you and bless you as you go through your trial.”

    Thanks Michael.

    God must want me to be ‘the’ toughest and most mentally strong human on the planet LOL.

    I’ll figure it out and overcome it all, I always do.

  4. …and if that doesn’t work out, I can always blame Scientology or Global Warming…or maybe George Bush.

  5. Praying for Michael and Alex this morning.

  6. Thank you, Ixtlan.

  7. Does God really move the pieces around the board based on prayer?

    Bible seems to say he does and then seems to say he doesn’t.

    The example in real life? Random. It’s a crap shoot. Nothing consistent or correlative.

  8. Kingdom of heaven is largely “within” as Jesus said.

    Your mindset.

    Praying is fine if it influences and strengthens your mindset.

    You can pray for deliverance….and the dude may still saw your head off with a knife, but if your mindset is strong and at peace then he has simply punched your ticket off this rock and into the next as it was probably determined to be.

  9. “Does God really move the pieces around the board based on prayer?”

    I hope so. My experience tells me yes, sometimes He does. Irregardless, I believe God wants me to pray, and so I do. I do so with the expectation that God will move, provide, comfort, protect, rebuke, and encourage.

  10. I pray too, all the time, in fact “without ceasing”…I believe “God” is informing your Mind/Reason/Intellect/Conscience at all times.

  11. What I don’t believe is that you can pray for your favorite sports team to win and when they do b/c “God!”

    I also think that it’s a coin toss as to whether you dodge a bullet in health or whatever when you pray for the outcome you want.

    I think the prayer you can count on a positive answer with are prayers for the mindset and strength do deal with whatever is determined to be in your Journey.

  12. This existence feels like it’s a big giant test.

    It also feels like much of it is determined.

    Our flesh is bound by Determinism, Natural Physical Law etc.

    It is our Minds/Soul/Conscience/Reason that has “free will”

    …convinced of that more than ever.

  13. I think there’s a lot of Truth in this verse. It’s about mindset, not the outcome of your particular circumstance. We humans seem to focus on the desired outcome all the time.

    “12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

  14. So, in closing…

    Basically, suck it up buttercup. I promise things will get worse, you aren’t getting off this rock alive, none of us are.

    Many have it far worse than we do.

    Pray for strength, resolve, contentment, peace and don’t sweat the outcomes. Let the chips fall where they may.

    Peace. Out.

    (Drops mic, walks off 🙂 )

    Love you man. I can’t promise things will be “fine”…I can promise “God” will give you the strength to deal with it.

  15. I’ve always hoped and prayed for truth, healing and reconciliation for you and your family, Alex. Continuing to pray for that.

  16. “I can’t promise things will be “fine”…I can promise “God” will give you the strength to deal with it.”

    Yep. Press on.

  17. Much love and prayer to you too, Alex.
    We have many readers who are hurting as well and this is a way to redeem the pain by encouraging them as well.
    God will make a way…

  18. Thanks Nonnie, Xtlan, Michael.

    Nonnie said, “I’ve always hoped and prayed for truth”

    The “truth”…more a function of what you can prove it seems, than what the truth actually happens to be.

  19. I’m sorry Michael….. adding prayers.

    Amen….the Sovereignty of God. Our Hope.

    Faith matters.

  20. Michael, I don’t know what’s going on, but I am praying for the situation.

    Alex, case-wise you will be fine. I am sure this feels like a huge personal betrayal though, and for that I am sorry. Praying you continue to find God through all the mess.

  21. Thanks Josh. It is a huge betrayal, but not worse than being betrayed by my own parents and own pastor when push came to shove regarding dealing with things in a biblical manner.

  22. I want the truth. Always have.

    Whatever the truth is, is.

  23. I’m sure those betrayals were horrific. At least with him, you know the dysfunction that he came from. It doesn’t take the hurt away, but it sorta makes sense.

    Keep going for the truth. The truth will never let you down, never has a reason to hide. If the truth is on your side, who can be against you? You got this.

  24. Thanks Josh, much appreciated.

  25. Let it be as Michael has said….whatever manner He will bring it to pass

  26. Alex, I am so sorry. It’s such a kick in the gut. Praying for you…..

  27. Perhaps Calvin was a Jonahist 🙂

  28. FWIW – Alex, trust your lawyers now and it might be worth some research on false memory theory – not exactly rock solid science

  29. never found much comfort in the thought that others have it worse than i do … lol

    as a child, i had a small appetite (that changed) and i’d be told to clean up my plate: “think of the poor starving children in Europe” (end of WW2)… i could not figure out how MY eating was going to help them

    Michael is always in my prayers – does God know what a lift it would give us all, if he could have a good report?

    that said, God just doesn’t see things the way we do, does he? – i think platitudes may just insult Him a bit – dunno
    praying for the mind which was is Christ to be in us – Phillippians 2

  30. By definition a theist believes in a sovereign God.

    It is how that works out in your understanding of the universe that makes you a Calvinist.

    Lapsed Calvinist Dread

  31. My only hope is that God is sovereign and my enemies and circumstances are not. He’s working all things together…for my good and His glory.

  32. Sweet word, Michael.
    Huge monster blessings to you and your family.

  33. Great word Michael. Will keep you and family in prayer.

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