I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, and He answered me. —Jonah 2:2
The story of Jonah is one of the most discussed and fascinating accounts in the Bible. But for all the debate, one thing is sure: Jonah did a lot of soul-searching in that smelly underwater hotel.
All of us can identify. Sometimes life just goes badly. When it does, like Jonah we need to ask ourselves some hard questions.
Is there sin in my life? In light of Jonah’s blatant disobedience, God had to do something drastic to catch his attention and lead him to repentance.
What can I learn from this situation? The wicked people of Nineveh were enemies of God’s people. Jonah thought they should be judged and not given a second chance. He obviously needed a lesson in sharing God’s compassion for the lost. “God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster” (Jonah 3:10).
Can I display God’s glory in this? Often our suffering is not about us but about people seeing the power of God working through our weakness. Jonah found himself in a helpless situation, yet God used him to lead a pagan nation to repentance.
Next time you find yourself in a “belly-of-a-whale” problem, don’t forget to ask the hard questions. It could mean the difference between despair and deliverance.
For Further Study
For an in-depth study of the fascinating account of Jonah,
read The Failure Of Success: The Story Of Jonah
We learn lessons in the school of suffering that we can learn in no other way.