“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1, NIV
Now, I’ve heard of being “in a pickle,” “in a pinch,” “in a jam,” and “in hot water.” But Jonah, the prophet of God, finds himself being “in a whale.” His choices have led him to this sobering moment of peril. Although he is completely drenched, he can still feel the chilling sweat of distress. His mind is bathed in the horror of dying inside the whale. He is eating the bitter herb of hopelessness as he considers “if only I had obeyed God.” John Greenleaf Whittier writes, “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!”
Have you ever fallen prey to the relentless feeling of regret? Have you ever wanted to reverse a decision? Have you ever felt the continuous sting of a poor choice? Jonah did. Jonah felt the highest levels of hopelessness. And to top it off, Jonah knew that he had only himself to blame. He confessed, “I know that it is my fault” (Jonah 1 :12).
It had been Jonah’s desire to get as far away from God as possible. It’s a bit of poetic justice that God would allow Jonah to go further than even Jonah intended. And yet, amazingly, in the dark, obscure surroundings of the digestive tract in the belly of a whale, near the bottom of a murky sea … God was found. There may be times in your life, when you’re tempted to believe you are beyond God’s ability to help. Jonah discovered that God had never left him.
Notice what Jonah prayed: “In my distress I called to the Lord and He answered me” (Jonah 2:2). Jesus is always as close as the mention of His name. Why not call on the Lord right now!