“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:
‘In my distress I called to the Lord,
And he answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help,
And you listened to my cry.’”
~Jonah 2:1-2 (NIV).
Jonah’s prayer here is not a prayer of deliverance—one prayed inside the fish (probably a whale)—but it was a prayer of thanksgiving. Things could’ve been far worse for him. He could’ve drowned. We can see how he was thankful just to be alive still.
We don’t often think of calamities until they strike—then we respond in the strangest of ways at times. And this is what the unsuspecting reader of Jonah sees as this little story weaves, bends and turns into something, always, bringing God glory.
In Desperation is Always Thanks
We should, and often do, find thanks deep in our need. But we sit ever on a knife’s edge at times and this cuts us to go one way or the other.
Do we see the light in the darkness or just more darkness?
We, therefore, are pushed to either be ever grateful or we complain: “How horrible is this?” is our contention with the fright we have spilling within us. And realistically, we’re right. Jonah was in the presence of Sheol (the grave) which is not just the place of the dead, but it is hell as well. So it is for us. Our desperation is pure hell.
It is one thing we can and always should acknowledge, however; that in all circumstances we can be thankful. Even when we’ve been swallowed by a big, smelly fish!
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.