Lent 2017: Week 3
Thoughts From Jonah
Read Jonah 2:7-10.
Spewed up out of the fish onto the shore, Jonah had to show the fruit of his repentance. He had to follow through on his conversation with the Lord. What’s your track record on following through? How many times don’t we all make grand gestures to God, only to flunk out by Monday morning!
This week’s theme is about returning. Jonah had to return to the point God had called him. For Jonah it was a GPS moment: a physical relocation. At times we hit stall or a dead end and there’s no point of progress until we return to the last point of direction God gave us. Perhaps you’ve wandered so far that you feel like you’ve got to start all over again? Your point of returning may be to get back into relationship with God. As a great songwriter, Jordan Feliz has written: “You are never too far gone.” (See Youtube link below.)
In repentance and returning we enter a process of transformation. And this is where we start getting traction in the journey toward Easter. The love of Christ and the power of His resurrection demands that we yield ourselves to a magnificent work of transformation.
“God does not compel us against our will, but makes us willing to go.” RT Kendall
Jonah must have experienced profound disorientation in his near drowning and in the darkness of the belly of the fish. Disorientation means you lose your bearings and are displaced from your normal position. I believe we will and we must experiences times of disorientation in our walk because we get so set in our ways and views. Pressures come to disorientate us so that we become more malleable in the hands of God. Then He can re-orient us to His will, His perspective and His way of thinking. As King David said:
“I am in great distress. Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” 2 Samuel 24:14
Birthed from these times of deep distress we may come fully alive to God’s purpose in life. At this point we are ready to be launched into seasons of transformation. Transformed into the likeness of Christ only comes as we die to self.
You only gain when you let go.
You only live when you die.
You only grow up when you bend low.
Transformation’s ultimate purpose is to become more like Him. We come into the belly of the fish, into places of loss, grief and crisis. Here we face all the issues of our egos. And here we learn surrender.
“I surrender Lord, I surrender all to Thee.”
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. Romans 12:2, The Amplified Version.
“I will follow through.”
Follow through on repentance with fruits of repentance.
Follow through on the vows I’ve made to the Lord.
Follow through in compassionate care for those around me.
“Never too far gone.”: Jordan Feliz