Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Yesterday we looked at the importance of throwing Jonah overboard. Whatever causes storms in your life, may need to be thrown overboard! But what are you supposed to do if you find yourself on the wrong end of this equation? What if you’re the Jonah being thrown overboard?

This may sound reckless, but if you’re in the position in which Jonah was, you may want to go ahead and jump out of that situation! I’d rather be in the belly of a stinky fish going in the right direction than on a cruise ship going the wrong way! Here are three things you can do if you do find yourself having been thrown overboard.

1. Cry Out To God
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD -Psalm 130:1

Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.
-Psalm 69:1

Sound a little obvious? The problem is if you’ve gotten yourself into the position of Jonah, you may be reluctant to take the most likely road to redemption. Pride, fear, condemnation, or a host of other candidates could be holding you back from admitting that you’ve gotten yourself into a bind and need a way out.

You may be surprised to find that your plea for help easily turns to a Psalm of thanksgiving to God. Check out all of Psalm 69, as the Psalmist beings to tell about the things God has done and will do for his people. This will lead you to step two.

2. Believe God - Exercise Your Faith
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. -Jonah 2:1

Notice that Jonah didn’t pray to the Lord his God until he was in the belly of the fish. When the storm was ragging, and the others were screaming through the wind and waves, “pray to your god,” Jonah didn’t pray. But when he got to the belly of that fish, it’s as though he said, “o.k. God, you’ve got me right where you want me, so here it goes...”

I believe he didn’t pray before because he knew he was wrong. The storm that you’re very own rebellion and sin has created doesn’t suddenly stop simply because you pray, “God make the storm stop.” I think Jonah knew, It didn’t matter how much he prayed, and cried and sought the Lord for calm waters, he was still on a boat going the wrong way!

Jonah didn’t bother to start praying until he had jumped the ship going the wrong way, and was on board one going in the right direction! At that point he was able to express a confidence in God's delivering power. In chapter two, Jonah spoke in the past tense about what God had done, but Jonah was still inside the belly of the fish! Jonah knew he was as good as delivered.
You answered me
You listened to my cry

You brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God
3. Submit to God’s Rescue Plan
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. -Luke 1:38

It doesn’t matter how loud you cry out, it doesn’t matter how flatteringly you worship, if you’re not willing to submit to God’s rescue plan, you’ll never get out of that fish! But if you’re willing to go through his program designed with you in mind, then you will get out of that situation!

Mary was part of a people who had been thrown overboard. Jesus was coming to rescue them. The angel came to give Mary the news that she would carry the Son of God. There’s an interesting side to this story. The future tense of the angel’s proclamation to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” He didn't say, "Mary, all this has already happened. He said all this is going to happen! I believe Mary had to choose to submit to God's will. And her answer was clear: “I am the Lord’s servant...” “May it be to me as you have said.”

The big deal with Mary, was not just for her own situation (poor little peasant girl, living as a member of an oppressed group of people), but it was for the situation of the whole world! She chose to submit to God’s rescue plan for the whole world! Whether Nineveh-sized cities or even greater, you never know who your willingness to submit could impact!

Cry out to God, believe God, and submit to God. These are simple steps that will take you from being thrown overboard to being able to overcome!

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