“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Moving backward? It can be all of those things at one time or another. There are things we dream of doing one day, and there are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could could get a “way out” card and start anew?
Starting over requires knowing where you are. Honestly admitting your present condition. Facing the music. And then seeking God’s help to make the changes that are needed.
Remember the prophet Jonah in the Old Testament. If you remember the story, Jonah had difficulty with his sense of direction. He was on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea going west to Tarshish. God had told him to go east to preach in Nineveh. We are know that Jonah never got to Tarshish. Jonah found he needed a way out in the digestive tract of a huge fish.
Imagine sitting there and wondering “how did I get here.” And coming to the obvious conclusion that being sloshed around in the seaweed and juices inside that sea monster is not the best place for you to be. He needed a way out from where his choices had led him. He made the fact that he needed help pretty clear when he literally yelled for mercy. “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.” (Jonah 2:1-2) He promised the Lord he’d keep his vow and get back on target. “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.” I believe the fish was as happy as Jonah when in verse 10, “And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” Jonah had found a way out and as you can imagine, he hit the road running, but this time toward Nineveh.
I can’t think of a tougher place to be a rebel or to be stubborn than in the stomach of a fish. There are times in our lives when we can identify with Jonah. Time when we have dodged and ducked, squirmed and squeaked our way through one Tarshish trip after another. But only to find there is no easy way out. Along the way we have become frustrated and tired. It is like running a long way only to find that you are going the wrong direction and then wondering whether you have the strength to run back all that distance. And Satan, the enemy of your soul is continually telling you that you can’t do it and you might as well get used to being in the belly of the fish.
If God can take a disobedient prophet, turn him around, and set him on fire spiritually, He can help us find a way out of our situations whether minor or dire. God has a very long track record of making something beautiful and good out of something broken, confused and lost.
If you’re standing alone inside a fish, first come to terms with those things that need attention. Before you find your way out, you must determine where you are—and how you got there. Once that’s accomplished, you’re ready to find your way out.
- Do you believe you always have a second choice?
- What is a modern day parallel to what God asked Jonah to do?
- Have you ever had a situation where you feel like you did the opposite of what God was calling you to?
- What is your first reaction when you feel there is no way out? How do you get away from guilt?
- What does this Jonah’s story teach us about God’s character?