From the Depth of the Ocean
By David Yim, Youth Director
Passage: Jonah 2 (NIV)
2 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.
3 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.
4 I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
5 The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
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.
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.’”
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Devotion: From the Depth of the Ocean
When Jonah is called to preach to the great city of Nineveh, Jonah refuses God’s call and runs away from him. Jonah goes on a boat and tries to sail as far as he can away from the call God has given him, but then a violent storm comes and Jonah is thrown overboard to save the other sailors. Jonah is then swallowed by a great fish and is taken to the bottom of the ocean floor. Instead of Jonah becoming even more angry with God (just imagine being in his situation!), he actually starts to pray and praise him. Jonah finally hits rock bottom (or I should say the ocean bottom) and finally turns to God because he has nothing else to turn to in the belly of the fish. It’s when everything is stripped away from him and he is literally in the lowest point of life when he remembers the Lord and praises him for his steadfast love and goodness. After Jonah repents for his sins and prays to God, God is gracious and commands the fish to vomit Jonah out.
In one of the most dry seasons of my life as a Christian, I constantly prayed to God for my apathetic heart to be zealous for him. In a conversation with my mentor, he gave me wisdom that I will never forget. He responded that in order for my dryness and apathy to turn into desperation,God will have to strip away everything in my life that I put my hope, my love and my faith in. It’s when I hit rock bottom where I finally have nothing else to turn to when I will finally turn to him. As I reflect on this passage and this journey of faith, I realize that my faith is made stronger when I am most weak and most vulnerable, not when life is on cruise control. It’s in moments when I am most desperate and when life is most chaotic when the only answer I can turn to becomes so clear: Christ himself.
When Christ was crucified, His disciples believed that their king had died and was defeated. Little did they know that Satan's so-called “victory” was actually his defeat. When Satan tries to wear us out in our spiritual battle and when the world’s hardships weigh down on us; we are not defeated in these moments. It’s in these moments when we are most vulnerable that we are able to proclaim victory because when we are at our lowest points, we are able to remember God just as Jonah remembered God in the belly of the fish.
When we are feeling apathetic and when our hearts have turned hard as stone, let us pray that God will remind us how truly broken we are and how needy we are of him.
“Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity”
Hosanna by Hillsong United