Are You in the Belly of a Big Fish?

8:56 AMHeather

Last week, I talked about how I had issues with fear at bedtime. One of my parents' strategies was to leave my Winnie the Pooh night light and let me listen to Bible stories on tape. Night after night, I listened to the amazing stories of Noah and Joshua and Jonah. They all intrigued me. I never considered them fairy tales or make believe--I saw them as real events that happened to real people. But, it all felt so removed from me. I think in my little girl mind, I saw them as stories of how big God was but didn't really know how to apply them to my own life.

I think one of the most wondrous attributes of God is just that--how BIG He is. It's incomprehensible to my feeble mind, as it should be. And part of continually trying to wrap my brain around my BIG God is unraveling Scripture over and over again. I love that in His vastness, I can stumble across that verse that yesterday made me yawn, but today has me at the edge of my seat. For example, just a minute ago, I read Romans 8:18. This is a verse I had memorized even. "I consider our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." WHOA! Hold up. Today, I noticed ONE little word, and I am really chewing on it. It says glory to be revealed IN us. Y'all--I had always seen that as His glory to be revealed TO us--as in maybe someday when I get to heaven and see Him face-to-face. But, it says His glory will be revealed IN us. Don't you just love that? We can spend our lifetimes engulfed in His Word and still never really unlock all that it has for us.

Which is what brings me back to those childhood Bible story tapes. I loved the story of Jonah. That is someone I could relate to--running scared from God. And, the whale--or a-hem, big fish. I mean, wowzers. I loved that the first movie in the theater that we took our oldest to was Veggie Tale's Jonah. The whole choir scene in the belly of the fish is one of my all time favorites. I had always seen the story of Jonah as a story of someone who struggled with disobeying God. Of course it is. But, as I am currently learning--it is so much more!

Two weeks ago, I started Priscilla Shirer's study of Jonah. And, whew--if it is not stepping all over my toes and getting to the heart of the matter. Because, yes, I can relate to the fear that led Jonah to disobedience. But, the big thing that I had never considered is this truth that Priscilla is driving home: the story of Jonah is a tale of a life interrupted. Jonah was rocking and rolling along, being an obedient prophet of God. Even the king listened to him. When suddenly, boom! A life interrupted. God stepped in with a new mission. But we need to see these new paths as something besides an interruption. Priscilla says it this way: When we see a significant person with a significant task, we see this as divine intervention rather than an interruption of an insignificant person coming at us with an insignificant task. I am struck with how universal this concept is. We fallen humans constantly struggle with our own agenda. And, God continually works through life's interruptions--when we let Him.

INTENTIONAL challenge: I am just wondering what the belly of the whale looks like for you. What path of status and task were you happily wondering down when all of a sudden you look around and see an "interruption" and end up being in the belly of some whale? Oh, that I could embrace these interruptions and see them as divine intervention. That I could see them as a privilege rather than an annoyance. These new revelations from Jonah are calling me to a major paradigm shift. Anyone want to join me? I could use some company here as I sort out how to partner with God's divine interventions rather than be swallowed up by my own agendas.

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