Prep Work

“…I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!”

The story of Jonah was the story about a man who ran away from a responsibility. The Lord called on him to speak to the ancient city of Nineveh, to warn them to repent, or face judgment. Jonah probably had his own reasons, but he definitely had the will to run away from this calling, choosing to take the first boat bringing him far away.

As the boat kept going, it suddenly was caught in the middle of a great storm. It was made known to the whole crew that they were placed in danger because of Jonah’s disobedience to the Lord. He knew this, and he asked the crew to throw him to the sea so the storm would settle down and they could go on with their journey. The way I see it, instead of telling the crew to turn back so he could do what he needed to do, he told them to just throw him off the boat, probably because he would rather die instead of doing what God told him to do.

The words above were in Jonah 2:1-9 – they were Jonah’s words while he was in the belly of a fish – a fish God sent to swallow him up so he would live to do what he was told to do.

I felt like writing this because it just hit me that we could say that we are ready to be used by the Lord – we could say that we are ready for the blessing. Some of us, myself included, can even say that we are losing our patience in waiting for the blessings that are coming. What we need to do, instead of complaining, is to ask the Lord what else needs fixing.

In the said prayer, Jonah said that ‘those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.’ In other words, if something else besides the Lord is in the center of our lives, He will not bless us. That being said, we need to be wary of what ‘vain idols’ are in our lives. What are we associated with that can hinder us when the Lord gives us something? What attitude needs to be removed? What relationships need to be adjusted or cut off? What habits need to be improved?

Take note that I never said anything about introspection; I read somewhere that this was the more sophisticated term for beating ourselves up. Remember that we are only limited to our own flawed opinions and perceptions. We need to call on the Lord, on the Creator, to show us what is wrong. He knows us more than we know ourselves. He knows our situations in more angles than we can possibly perceive. He knows all the possibilities, and if we have accepted and believed the fact that we were saved only by the blood of Jesus Christ, He definitely will allow what will bring Him the most glory.

Remember what Jim Caviezel said? ‘Freedom exists not to do what you like but to have the right to do what you ought.’

Consequently, blessings are given not for us to do what we like but to have the capability to do what we ought.

Are we ready to blessed to be a blessing, or are we setting ourselves up to be strained to submission?

God bless you.

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