Editor’s Note: Devotions from the Beach is a lovely volume of devotions, a breath of fresh sea air to your soul. Today, you may be hip deep in snow and bearing icy temperatures, but we pray that you enjoy a mental beach vacation, dig your toes into the sand, are find encouragement and exhortation from this devotion from the beach.
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And [Jonah] said: “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, and He answered me.
Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice…” So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. — Jonah 2:2, Jonah 2:10
When the lifeguard’s whistle blows, an ambulance arrives out of nowhere, beach patrol shouts through a bullhorn, and leisurely tourists become up-right onlookers — something has happened. Someone got caught in the riptide and the situation is life or death. Fatigued, the swimmer does not have the ability to swim back to shore.
Someone must rescue him.
This was Jonah’s predicament. He’d been running from God and realized he couldn’t escape on his own. There he was, in the belly of a fish, certain that this was the end. He could not save himself, for there was no way out. So — and feel free to chuckle here — Jonah was rescued by way of vomit.
Many times the Lord walks through the fires and waves with us, but there are times He simply plucks us out of a situation — perhaps one we are either unwilling or unable to leave ourselves — and rescues us.
And, like Jonah’s rescue (again, feel free to chuckle), it’s not always the most obvious form of rescue. Sometimes our hearts are broken in the process. Sometimes we are asked to leave a job we love — or even a job we don’t, but desperately need. Sometimes we must leave behind all that we’ve ever known. And the longer we cling to what we know — the unknown is so scary, after all — the more painful and more difficult the rescue efforts become. Would you be as stubborn if you were drowning or trapped? Taking a cue from Jonah’s story, we might need to be vomited out of a situation right now. There will be time for questions later.
During these doesn’t-seem-like-a-rescue events in our lives, we may get angry. We may cry. We may bargain with God, but this is not a street market. We may beg God for a different outcome — change the person, have the employer admit the mistake and rehire you — whatever it is. We can ask, and God certainly has the power to do whatever He wishes. But His ways are not ours. His perspective transcends anything we could possibly realize this side of heaven. Our vantage point is very limited, and we can’t see into the future.
We can ask God to show us why He’s doing what He’s doing, and one day He might. But more importantly is the day that we can say with a full heart, “No, I don’t see. But I trust.”
Lord, I have been thinking about _________________________ and how suddenly that situation turned. I don’t understand. I was so much happier back then. But I know in my heart I did all I could do, and Your answer is that it’s done. Help me grow in my trust that You have rescued me from something I may never have to know about or understand.
Excerpted with permission from Devotions for the Beach and Days You Wish You Were There, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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Have you had that experience before — being plucked out of a situation unexpectedly and sometimes heartbreakingly? Maybe you’re there today wondering why God allowed (or authored) this difficult, scary, frustrating life upending situation? Consider today whether God may be rescuing you from something you cannot comprehend in the middle of your suffering and pain. Can you trust Him that He loves you and that He is in control? Come join the conversation on our blog! We would love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. — Proverbs 3:5-6