Originally published Tuesday, 17 September 2013.
Magical moments in the ocean of life, we splash and dance like the world is our playground. Other times we feel terrifyingly small in the presence of a great and wondrous creation that at any moment can overtake the strongest man's strength, or shock us like an unwanted visitor. Often, we live in between the two extremes with a holy fear and a sacred desire for discovery.
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. (Psalm 139:7-10)
I am so thankful that I can never get away from the presence of God.
Jonah foolishly thought he could escape from the Lord's presence as he fled to Tarshish on a wooden vessel.
But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish. (Jonah 1:3)
Never imagining that God would send such a great storm for him to face his disobedience, Jonah sacrificed himself for the ship and men he traveled with "in the opposite direction" of God. He plunged into the farthest ocean depths and was swallowed into the belly of a great fish. Even there God heard Jonah's cries of repentance and his pleas for deliverance.
You don't have to be running from God out of disobedience to feel as if you have plunged into the greatest depths of the sea.
Do you utter a cry for deliverance from your present state? Do some moments, or days, feel as if you have plunged into the farthest of the ocean's depths and the times of dancing on the shore, of wonder, and rest seem a distant memory?
GOD STILL SEES AND HEARS YOUR CRIES FOR DELIVERANCE...and He hears mine too. Praise His great and glorious name! He hears us, friend, and he has not turned a deaf ear to those who belong to the family of Christ Jesus.
Perhaps our deliverance will come when we least expect it. Like searching in the ocean for a vacant shell and instead pulling out a huge and glorious living creature, He will deliver us to newness of life from what now seems the mire of death and decay...our whale-belly experience.
But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the LORD alone. (Jonah 2:9)