Surrendering to God’s Will

But the Lord provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and nights.   (Jonah 1:17)

Do you know what it’s like to be knee-deep in whale spit? I don’t mean this question literally, but spiritually.

Let me explain by recalling the story of Jonah.  God had called Jonah to go to Nineveh in order to condemn the wicked ways of its citizens.  Jonah didn’t want to go to this city because he was afraid that if the Ninevites heeded his call to repent, God would forgive them.  Jonah didn’t want God to show mercy to this wicked city.  Instead, he wanted God to obliterate it.

So, Jonah got on a ship to Tarshish and not to Nineveh.  Instead of going where God wanted him to go, he went in the opposite direction.

We know the story.  A storm came up. The ship was at risk. When the sailors discerned that Jonah was causing their distress, they tossed him overboard.  In order to save Jonah, God sent a “large fish” to swallow him up.

Knee-deep in the fish’s belly, Jonah rethinks trying to run away from God.  When he cries out to the Lord in his distress, the fish burps him out to dry land.

So, again, have you ever experienced being knee-deep in whale spit?  I have.  Whenever I’ve denied God’s calling, refused God’s desire, or preferred my will over God’s will, I’ve ended up in some pretty dark places.

If you’re in your own version of being in a whale’s belly, I encourage you to do some rethinking.  If you’re resisting God’s call or refusing to make some changes God wants you to make, I encourage you to get over your willfulness before you end up in some stuck, stinky, and sloppy place.

When Jonah gave up trying to run away from God and said he would honor God’s mission, he was burped out onto the ground and into the light.  When we surrender to God’s will, we’ll be moving towards more solid ground and more into the light.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Do you identify with Jonah? Ever not done something God wanted you to do?  Ever gone the opposite way God wanted you to go?  If so, how come?
  1. If and when you did act like Jonah, what happened? Did you experience anything like what Jonah went through in the whale’s belly?  What did that feel like?
  1. If you’ve known your own version of being knee-deep in whale spit, what brought you to your senses so that you could return to God and His calling upon your life?

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