Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, & Micah: Day 17

Jonah’s Prayer

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Today's Text: Jonah 2:1-10, Psalm 88:4-5, Hebrews 4:16

Scripture Reading: Jonah 2:1-10, Psalm 88:4-5, Hebrews 4:16

If you had to choose a ride at Disney World to be stranded on, which would it be?

Of course, the resounding answer is none, but if you really had to pick, would you choose one that didn’t go upside down? Would you pick your favorite? Maybe you’d go with one that at least overlooks a pretty view. My guess is you wouldn’t pick The Haunted Mansion, filled with ghosts and zombies and who-knows-what around the corner—the name speaks for itself.

Yet, speaking from experience, I’d give it five out of five stars. I would definitely recommend getting stuck on The Haunted Mansion. Because, here’s the thing: Florida is eleventy-billion degrees every single day of the year. The Haunted Mansion is dark. The seats recline. It is air conditioned. In fact, I think the best nap of my life happened on those plastic seats when the ride shut down unexpectedly. But if you’d told me this before I buckled my seatbelt, I never would have agreed to get on the ride.

I bet if Jonah had known beforehand that he would get swallowed by a fish, he never would have stepped foot on that boat. Many of the places God brings us to are ones we would never choose for ourselves. But that is the point: When we stop trying to find ourselves, we can see that we’ve already been found.

Pastor and author A.W. Tozer said, “In every generation, the people who have found God have been those who have come to the end of themselves. Recognizing their hopelessness, they have been ready to throw themselves on the mercy and grace of a forgiving God.”

This is why Jonah’s prayer is so surprising to us: it doesn’t sound like Jonah. He hasn’t shown interest in obeying God up until this point, and although he didn’t drown, things aren’t looking especially bright for him. But when stripped of the stories he’s told himself, he sees clearly: Death is not the worst-case scenario; life without God is.

This is what grace and mercy sound like in the face of death:

“Then you raised my life from the Pit, Lord my God!
As my life was fading away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
to your holy temple” (Jonah 2:6-7).

Of course, we don’t want to walk through storms and sit in darkness and sleep in the underbelly. But what if we remembered these are the places where grace usually meets us? Sometimes grace is messy and dark. Sometimes mercy is painful and scary. God does not need perfect circumstances to bring us closer to Him. In fact, it’s usually the opposite.

Let’s not overlook that Jonah thanks God for raising his life from the pit while he is still in it. May we do the same today, allowing grace to meet us and mercy to surprise us. We can trust that even as we cry out to God in our distress, He is faithful to answer our call (Jonah 2:2). Thanks be to God.

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  • Millicent

    Wham bam thank you, ma’am, my quitesons are answered!

  • Yes!

  • Kristen Clegs

    Verses 8 and 9 grabbed my attention today: “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you. Salvation belongs to the Lord.”
    Jonah could cling to his vain idols of hurt, revenge, self, freedom; or he could cling to the security of God’s steadfast love. He could sacrifice obedience to get his own way, or he could sacrifice his rights, his opinions, his freedom with thanksgiving that God loves and God saves.
    May God show each of us the vain idols we cling to, and empower us to turn back to His steadfast love!

  • This was just what I needed today, thank you Jesus! I feel like I have been struggling forever with a broken and damaged heart due to my spouse’s addiction and I long so desperately for God to heal it. I should be thanking God for healing me while I am sitting here, not wishing and mourning I was already fixed!

    • Crystal Wallace

      I know what you mean about a broken and damaged heart. It’s so hard to continue to love them. So hard.

  • Pregnant women– if you need any support look up your local Pregnancy support ministry!! Great help with not only all the information you need about what’s happening to your bodies, but great loving Christian ladies that will listen, give hugs and just be there for you!!

  • So thankful for this devotion today. My twin sister (29 yrs old) has been struggling with pain throughout her body for a long 14 months with no answers. She has seen many DRs and none to give her answers. She amazes me that everyday she keeps trying and putting one foot in front of the other. Her pain seems like a whale of a problem but so glad for the reminder that DR Jesus is still in control! Even in the storms of our lives He’s still there to extend grace and mercy and to hear our cry. Would you dear sisters please pray for my twin sister!! Her name is Sydeena and she is in great need of healing! Thank you all!

    • Mari

      I’m on my lunch break re reading this devotion. Will pray for Sydeena right now.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Seirena, thank you for sharing this. We are lifting up your sister Sydeena in prayer today, and asking God to give her comfort, peace and healing. So glad to have you here reading along with us. <3 – Abby, The SRT Team

    • Barbara

      I can identify with Sydeena as a twin and in the area of pain.Each day is a challenge.My prayer is for Sydeena is for complete healing,

      • Seirena

        Thank you so very much!! My heart rejoices in knowing I can ask for prayer and that God hears each of us!!! Thank you all!❤️

    • Allecia

      Something to try since help from doctors isn’t working – eliminate all wheat for a couple of weeks. A fascinating book by a cardiologist on the effects of wheat, search for Wheat Belly, author William Davis.

  • Micahlee

    I may be on a mountain right now in my life, but I am glad for these reminders which keep me turning back to God and being humble

  • Emily Grace

    Today’s reading was for me. Brought tears to my eyes ❤️

  • Caroline

    So good! I love that the trials and the waiting seasons are what bring us closer to him <3 They are so worth it and I'm so thankful for each and every one!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Such a great reminder that God has bigger plans for us than we have for ourselves! Sometimes singleness feels like a pit, especially as I find I have fewer and fewer friends to share it with. God doesn’t promise I’ll get married, but he will deliver me from feeling anxious, lonely, and forgotten because I pin my hopes on a relationship and not on him. Praying for you all who find yourselves in your own pits today – may you find a way to enjoy the Haunted Mansion!

    • Kristin Erickson

      I’m right there with you sister! I am 33 and single, and my friends and family are all getting married and having babies. It is definitely challenging to keep trusting and looking to Jesus. Singleness can be a lonely road. Praying for you!

    • Emily

      Hi Kelly,
      Singleness can feel kinda scary. There are many moments we say ” what about me God?”. Something I learned today was how God hears us. God hears you Kelly. He’s listening. As a good Father, He is attentive to our cries even when we feel like theres no real solution. i mean, look at Jonah.. God heard him from the belly of a whale!
      God has a huge plan for you, and He is the author of the story of your life. Keep looking to the Son, and knowing that you are so crazy loved by Him. He wants to meet you where you are and He is your true Bridegroom.

  • No whale of a problem is too big for Him. Thank you Churchmouse that. My alarm was set too early this morning by accident. But there are no accidents. I had awoken earlier with a bad headache and wanted to sleep more .
    So glad I decided to start my devotions. I too along with the rest of you this morning am comforted that I’m not alone. Things seem to be getting worse. My heart and mind are heavy. Need to talk to my counseling pastor about some heavy stuff today. I wish this was over.

    • Dawn

      Oh dear Mary, I’m praying for you. That God’s peace will lighten that heavy heart. ♡hugs

    • Gina

      Praying that you will remember that underneath you are the everlasting arms of God. Never alone!

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Mari, we are praying for you today – for encouragement and support as you walk through these things. And yes, we would definitely encourage you to connect with your local pastor and find support in your local church and community. It can make such a difference! So glad to have you as a part of this community. <3 – Abby, The SRT Team

  • The book of Jonah is actually my favorite one, not only because it has an amazing lesson and direct and concise, but also because I identify with Jonah a lot, in terms of personality. He is very stubborn, just as I am, but I love seeing that Jehovah Lord is so patient with him, knowing that behind that stubbornness is a very good and spiritual heart. That comforts me so very much, because I neglected and ran away from God during my teens up until I was in my darkest year, where I felt a nuisance and had 0 confidence in myself, but Jehovah NEVER forgets me. Everytime I get more sad or those anxiety, self doubting feelings pull me down in the water, he just keeps pulling me into the surface.
    Everytime I read Jonah I just cry. It’s comforting seeing how you are given second chances, and how God is so patient and kind and loving. That we are never forgotten.

  • Christina D.

    Right now I am in a pit of sorts from physical pain/discomfort and depression/anxiety set off by that. I am pregnant and even just reading Lindsey’s comment feel a sense of guilt as so far the pregnancy is healthy. But never in my life have I struggled so deeply with depression or feeling as though I’m actually sinking and surrounded by darkness. I think I understand a tiny bit more about “Sheol” during this season. In the midst of this the Lord has graciously, so graciously, extended His mercy and I feel his presence as I reach to him with weak and eager hands every day to lift me up and carry me during this season. His grace is sufficient, apparent, and present as it sustains me during this season. But I will be honest, even though I know this I still am struggling with feeling angry that I have to be in the pit to get to that place with Him. I feel angry at myself for knowing that during the dark times I rely on Him as I should all the time. I feel angry at God that I am experiencing this and that I feel so sad during a time that brings joy to so many (and of course the accompanying feelings of guilt about that). I see the complete surrender in Paul as he talks about the thorn that he asked God to remove but accepted and even boasts about the weakness and thus he is content. I feel like I am partly there…I have been able to honestly and whole heartedly share with others how the Lord is sustaining me right now and my reliance is on Him. But contentment? No. I’m not there. I’ve told a few friends I feel immature and lacking that I’m not in the place where I can contentedly say I am ok with this. I don’t like the way I feel and I just want it to go away. Just asking God to help me truly accept my position in this season and somehow, some way, lead me to contentment. Maybe contentment during this season just doesn’t look how I expect it to. Thanks to anyone who endured reading my long comment!

    • Rebecca

      I too have suffered from depression and only by trusting in God every single minute have I made it through. My heart is heavy for you because I know what you are going through. But even when you don’t have the strength to reach out to God, He is holding on to you, carrying you on His shoulders, clearing a way for your future. Breathe Him in and let Him comfort you.

    • Dawn

      It have me comfort, although I discovered it after I had already gone through it that our bodies go through some serious hormonal changes during pregnancy. Who knew? I once heard a female doctors interview say that a woman has more hormones surge through her body during the nine months of pregnancy then in a normal lifetime. The surprise me greatly and I wish that somebody had told me at the age of 22 when I was experiencing my first pregnancy. Give yourself room to breathe in this. God is with you and will be with you through this. It is not your fault nor is it God’s fault but it is the way our human bodies are made and he knows all too well how we suffer in these frail bodies at times. It has helped me over the course of my 45 years to write and put my thoughts down on page. Penning them out as prayer. Find comfort in his word and know that others are praying with you. Much love♡

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Christina, thank you so much for being willing to share with us. We will be praying for you as you walk through this season, and for healing, comfort and encouragement throughout your pregnancy. If you haven’t already, we would also encourage you to seek out a pastor, counselor or trusted mentor who can walk with you through this. Having support in your local community or church can really make all the difference. So glad to have you as a part of this community. <3 – Abby, The SRT Team

    • Kailee

      Oh, sister!! I could have written this myself! I’m 37 weeks pregnant and this pregnancy has been full of hormone induced depression, hopelessness, anxiety ( currently laying in bed battling a severe panic attack), defeat and guilt. Praying for us both.

      • Christina D.

        Oh Kailee I’m praying for you too. I know better than to tell you it’s “almost over” when one day can feel like an ETERNITY. Thank you for responding…even though it doesn’t take it away, knowing I’m not the only person going through this makes me feel even a tiny bit less lonely. Praying your remaining days move somehow quickly and somehow peacefully. You’re not alone either and I will continue to pray for you not only for the next few weeks but beyond as well. Thankful for your post today, friend.

  • Tochi Heredia

    While being in the mist of depression, I have stood on the edge of the pit, looking down and ready to take the plunge. But God grabbed me and pulled me far away from that deep dark void.
    What kept me away from running back and look down again, was knowing that my life was worthy enough for the son of God to willingly descend into the pit and defeat its monster. It was realizing that dying to ourselves –even our desire to give up on living– and putting our lives in His hands, is the only way to have real peace.
    Because life without Him is the worst-case scenario.

    Also, Kaitlin: I feel our hearts are very much alike. I instantly thought of the Haunted Mansion and then started laughing when I read that you actually had been stuck inside it. It was either that ride or the Pirates of the Caribbean one :)

  • Kay, thank you for that testimony. I’m grateful for the authenticity of each of you who choose to share. I think for each of us when we come before Him before others and admit we just don’t have it all together is the beginning of healing. In my study I like to bring things down a little more direct to help me see how God is working. So here’s what I did today. I went through the verses and marked
    Vs 2. I called. He answered
    I cried out, you heard my voice
    Vs 6. I sank, you raised
    Vs 7. I remembered
    Vs 10 Then the Lord commanded the fish
    It just shows me how God answered Jonah in his seeking of God and when I cry out he will also hear.

  • churchmouse

    Many heavy concerns already posted here this morning from so many of you. There are many of us struggling in the pit but, praise God, we turn to one another for prayerful support. We link arms, hit our knees and lift our faces collectively to the One who loves us no matter the pit we find ourselves in. No matter how smelly the fish of our circumstance, how deep the ocean of despair, or how raging the waves of fear.. We turn to Him. There is no One who can help like He can. Let us encourage one another to be faithful in trusting Him. Let us press on in prayer and may we post testimonies of His faithfulness. Our prayers will be answered by Him Who knows best and loves large. No whale of a problem is too big for Him.

    • Daniela

      Beautifully said :)

    • Gina

      Amen! Yes, how much support we get from such prayerful support. I will share too that sometimes God’s answer to severe depression includes medication. I know. Have been there when all I saw ahead of me was more darkness and no light at all. Truly I was at the end of my rope. Praise God for bringing me through such a hard time and for supplying grace upon grace.

  • MommaWilson

    Lindsey,
    Praying peace over your day, I have been in that same spot & understand your hurt. Hugs to you, I ask that the Lord would encourage your heart today. ❤️

  • I grew up going to church, hearing about God, but never fully understanding or feeling relationship with Him. I believed in Him but that was it. Near the end of high school my life changed pretty dramatically, at my own hands and before long I was making decisions and becoming a person I never thought I would, and intentionally. The girl I was before was well liked, intelligent and fun but I wasn’t satisfied, I didn’t like her. She was my Nineveh and I couldn’t run from her fast enough and in doing so, I was forced to make a decision no one should ever have to and created a storm of epic proportions in my life and was forced to plunge myself into the deep. A deep that was dark and sad and terrifying. An ocean of despair that had me feeling more alone and hating myself more than I had ever thought possible. But then God walked in. He sought me. He captured my attention and in an effort to ground me He provided a daily lifesaver in the form of my Dad. That is a precious season that always brings me to tears, and though I wish I had made different decisions, though I’d love to take those errors back, I know that without them, I would not have met God when I did. BUT I also know that because He loves me, He wouldn’t have ceased in chasing me. The irony is that we are always finding Ninevehs … things we know God is asking us to do but we pretend we don’t hear him, we think, “Surely there is a way around this” but we all already know there isn’t. We look at Jonah’s life and see this big thing but we need to remember that this applies to even small daily things because God is always seeking us, always desiring more with us. Today, I am prayerful that I don’t run from my Ninevehs, that I say “yes” to God and that I desire growth so much that I accept, without hesitation, the challenges God puts in front of me because whether they are deep, dark pits of despair or simply changing up something with my wee folk I desire to find God in them and I know the same God who provided sweet and treasured memories to me before I even knew how precious they’d be is a God that won’t disappoint.

  • Praying for you and your baby Lindsey.

  • Pleas pray for me! A few weeks ago I had several positive pregnancy tests. My husband and I have been so extatic and couldn’t wait to be far enough along to go to the doctor. Yesterday I started bleeding heavily. I went to the doctor and they saw what they said could either be an early pregnancy or a miscarriage. Of course now I have to wait to hear back about blood test results to see what she thinks after that. My heart is broken. I’d already started praying for that little baby every day. I had praised God daily for blessing me so quickly after we decided to have children. Please pray for a miracle and that if God doesn’t see fit to bless us with a little baby right now that I will turn to him and grow from this experience.

    • Lucy

      Lindsey,
      Praying for you. You are in the hands of The Great Physician who loves you. Please keep us posted.

    • ~ B ~

      Praying for you Lindsey. May you feel the peace of God in the next days and know that He is with you, that He both celebrates and grieves with you. Wishing great health and miraculous moments in this season of life for you!

    • Wendy Garner

      Praying for you and your child, Lindsey. I have experienced full-term pregnancies and have a son and 2 daughters, but I also walked through 2 miscarriages. Praying it’s God’s plan for you to raise this child. God is faithful no matter what. Praying you will experience the peace and strength of His presence and comfort today.

    • She Reads Truth

      Lindsey, so sorry to hear that. We are praying over you now, for comfort and peace, even in the difficult waiting. So glad to have you here. <3 – Abby, The SRT Team

  • “Death isn’t the worst case scenario; life without God is”. Amen. Such a powerful statement. I really enjoyed today’s lesson, thank you for being obedient and sharing the word as God lays it on your heart.

  • This reading has brought me to tears. I was there with Jonah. I had denied God for all of my adult life, then about 10 years ago, I was in a bad car accident. My body was so broken. I had to turn to others for literally everything- I could not care for my children, nor bathe myself- all I could do was recuperate. Then I got physically sick. And I was depressed. So despondent… but then I learned to meditate. And in the depth of my silence, a stillness my body and mind had never experienced before, I heard God speaking. I still denied. But when I heard God a second time, I was transformed. His grace is infinite. I had to be slowly digested by my own personal giant fish before I could hear God and receive His grace. Lord God, thank you for not giving up on me! Amen.

    • Laura

      Thank you for sharing, Kay.

    • Erin

      What a beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing ❤️❤️❤️

    • Emily

      That’s an amazing testimony, Kay and one that should be continued to be shared! Thank you for sharing it with us this morning❤️

    • ~ B ~

      What a profound testimony, Kay. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. Thankful that you listened to our Father, so He could make change in you and through you!

    • Kendra

      Wow, thank you for sharing, Kay. What a wonderful story God is writing for your life!

    • Nicole

      What a testimony to our patient, loving and faithful Father who desires for not one of his children to perish! I love how he uses our darkest places to draw nearer to him, if only we allow it and don’t run.

  • This made me think of the song “Bring the Rain” by Mercy Me. The chorus says “Bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings You glory. And I know there’ll be days when this life brings me pain. But, if that’s what it takes to praise You Jesus, bring the rain.”
    Here’s a link to the song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loaqQ2WqQ6I
    Be blessed, sisters!

  • Tina and Tricia, I am praying with you and for you this morning.

    So often I fail and sin always affects others.

    Sometimes my failures are like Jonah: plain disobedience. Sometimes I am more like a sleepy disciple in the garden.

    Either way I am very thankful there is that throne of grace.

  • Praying for and with you both ladies. Thank you both for sharing- it’s hit me the same in that I feel compelled to say Yes and Amen to Jonah’s prayer of acclimation, remembering…. remembering that
    “Then you raised my life from the Pit, Lord my God!
    As my life was fading away,
    I remembered the Lord,
    and my prayer came to you,
    to your holy temple”..
    I need him more and more and in times of great stress and sorrow I’m nearer to him still. When all I want is to run he other direction or be “out of he belly of the whale” or out of current circumstances I can’t help but be grateful for a King who is victorious in all circumstances and a merciful God who forgives me and lavishes graces so freely. I pray we all receive that grace continually and always be bent toward him. Praying for your children Tricia and you family’s situation Tina! Praying you will see God and his wisdom in a new light!

  • Tricia C

    I find myself awake for the bet an hour now. It’s 4:15am here. All of these hints are running through my mind of what I may have done wrong with my patients yesterday. I’m an icu nurse. So I find myself on my knees asking for forgiveness for where I may have been complacent and missed their needs or their problems.
    Then I start asking the Lord to soften the hearts of my three adult children. That they may come to know and love Him as Lord and Savior. Lord you deliver breed me from my sin, and do again and again, please do the same for my children and also my grandchildren as they grow. Let me be an instrument for you Lord. Help me not to run away from Your calling.
    Sorry a ramble ladies. Praying that the Lord will allow me a couple more hours of sleep. If not, then someone needs me to be praying for them, and that’s what I’ll be doing.
    Have a blessed day dear sisters.

  • Tricia C

    Prayers for you and your family Tina.

  • Kaitlin thank you for these words… so for me today as I walk alongside my son and his family through their trials..
    It’s funny how you think you are giving God the time… then big mess happens and you realise you were only touching the top of the iceberg… since Monday, my every moment spare, has been crying out to God.. to guide, to help, to give wisdom, to heal, to be present in the scenario unfolding in the family..for grace and mercy.. for love to be shown… seems a long time ago since I was leaning so so much on God…
    Lord forgive me…
    In Jonah’s words Lord God I come today saying
    Then you raised my life from the Pit, Lord my God!
    As my life was fading away,
    I remembered the Lord,
    and my prayer came to you,
    to your holy temple”..
    Only you Lord God.. only you…
    In the mighty and most powerful name of Jesus Lord God I pray.. Amen..

    Blessings Sisters.. He is near… always. Xx

    • ~ B ~

      Tina, I am prayerful over this journey with your son. I hope all is well in the midst and that God blesses you, your son and his family with His presence in profound ways.

  • Thanks be to God!!

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