“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly.”
Although very few people have ever been swallowed by a great fish, the story of Jonah is still a pretty common one. It tells of a man who refused to do what God called him to until the chastening of the Lord got his attention. It is remarkable how long Jonah endured this chastening before he called on God and amended his ways. I have often wondered at what point along the way I would have obeyed. He had his first opportunity when he heard the word of God, his second, when the storm hit, and his third when the sailors awoke him, cast lots, and determined the storm was his fault. His fourth opportunity came when the sailors, who had been idol worshippers, turned their lives over the the Lord. His fifth chance came when he was cast into the sea, and his sixth, when a great fish opened its mouth and swallowed him whole. This is where the stubbornness of Jonah really stands out. He tells us, with his body wrapped in seaweed and stuck in what seemed like his eternal grave, that it took three days before he cried out to God and repented of his disobedience.
As wild as this story is, Jonah is not alone in it. The stubbornness of the human heart is almost beyond comprehension. I have watched families be dismantled over the sins of a father, who will not let go of an ungodly act or relationship. With his wife and children pleading with him to come back to them, he continues in his rebellion until everything he has worked years to erect, comes tumbling down around him.
The question we have to ask ourselves is, “At what point will you repent?” How much farther do you need to walk away from the Lord before you will turn to Him and cry out for His help? Don’t wait until the seaweed is around your head or the stomach juices have bleached your skin. Turn to Jesus now, and let His mercy wash over you, and let His power restore what you have broken.