“Sometimes God lets you hit rock bottom so you will discover that He is the rock at the bottom” – Toby Mac.
There’s an old cliché that says, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” In other words, when the battle rages and the bullets fly, people tend to pray. There’s just something about realizing that you’re out of options and in need of divine intervention. Jonah experienced this kind of moment as the sailors tossed him overboard into the rough and stormy sea. You see, Jonah didn’t like the idea of preaching in the dangerous city of Nineveh, so he ran. That was Jonah’s first mistake. Thankfully, even when we run from God, God never stops pursuing us.
When we run from God, we will continue running into God. As Jonah ran, he stumbled into one problem after another. Some of those problems impacted his own life, while other problems spilled over into the lives of others: the sailors on the ship found out that God will show up even if you are running from Him. Jonah should have read what Jeremiah said in chapter 23 verse 24: “Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord.
Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom. It took Jonah being tossed into the sea and facing imminent death before he asked God for help. It didn’t have to be this way for Jonah, and it doesn’t have to be this way for us. You don’t have to be in the belly of the fish to hit rock bottom. It can happen in the form of a personal tragedy, accident, sickness, relationship crisis, job loss, or financial problem.
After 3 days in the stomach of a whale, where God provided for Jonah and changed his heart, Jonah was given another chance. His rock bottom was the firm foundation for rebuilding his life to higher levels than he ever imagined before. God caused the whale to spit him up and Jonah survived the whole ordeal. And don’t miss this, Jonah turned around in the right direction and headed to Ninevah. It wasn’t too late for Jonah to do the right thing. It’s not too late for you and me to do the right thing either. We may have been in a bad situation making some bad choices, screwing up this thing called life, but it’s not too late for us. God hasn’t given up on you. He can use this. He wants to use us.
Jonah went to Ninevah and God used him to change the entire city. God uses people who have gotten on the wrong path. God uses people who have made a real mess of things on occasion. God is searching for people who are willing to turn themselves around and start making the right choices today.
There’s real hope for whatever you’re going through, whatever loss, whatever hurt. God offers hope to people that hit rock bottom. There’s hope. God is waiting and watching and longing to forgive you. There is a father to cleanse you and to restore you and to empower you and give you a second chance. There is a father who gives you a clean slate and puts you on a new path.
- When have you, like Jonah, been in a desperate circumstance of your own making? How did you respond? What do you learn from Jonah’s response?
- Is there an area of your life that you are desperate to change? Is there anything stopping you from praying?