Hello friends, first of all, let me apologize for falling off the face of the earth, but when you move, and get a new job, and your best childhood friend gets engaged all at the same time, suddenly people and life become a little more important than the internet.
But, I'm back now, and hoping to continue somewhat consistent posting on here. We shall see what happens. As a kick-start, I'm bringing in a new Friday tradition. (I've enjoyed High Five for Friday, and it may return, but for the meantime, I'm thrilled about this new link-up!)
Back in January, I joined a fantastic online community called She Reads Truth. I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing this little space has been in my life - it is so loving and uplifting! About two weeks ago (conveniently coinciding with the new job, my aunt's wedding, and the afore-mentioned engagement and ensuing dress-shopping/planning flurry), She Reads Truth started a new thing called She Shares Truth. Basically, every Monday, we are assigned certain scripture to reflect on over the week, and write about on Friday.
Friends, I'm a writer. Can you imagine my joy at hearing about this new plan? Honestly, I hope it stays forever. Obviously, I've already missed out on two weeks worth of writing, but that doesn't dampen my excitement about it by any means. I'm thrilled to be able to join in today!
Currently, we're reading (and sharing) about Jonah. Yep. you heard that right.
I'm sure I've read through Jonah in my adulthood, but I've certainly never paid attention to it as an adult. I mean, really, it's a story about a man who gets swallowed by a fish and then regurgitated three days later. Good material for Sunday School, and keeping the kids' attention, but not really that important for my spiritual journey now... Or so I thought
Our study basically started out with this sentence: "It's not about the fish."
It is not about the fish. Did you know there are only three verses in Jonah that even talk about "the fish"? This is actually a story about a man who thought he could out-smart God, and had to learn his lesson multiple times. (One of those times just happened to involve a fish swallowing him - minor details, really.)
Sound familiar? Oh yeah. Only like what I've been doing for years...
The thing that really struck me in my reading through Jonah 1&2 (and which I remember noticing as a child, too) is that the sailors cast lots to find out whose fault it is that they have this giant storm on their hands, and the lot happens to fall on Jonah. Hmmmmmm.
Casting lots was a pretty common form of divination, as well as a way to make a fair selection for any job that nobody (or everybody) wanted to do. It was not only prevalent in Israel. This was a widely known practice throughout ancient cultures. It was similar (in principle, not necessarily in practice) to drawing straws.
Now, in summary, so far, Jonah has made a decision to "get away from the presence of the Lord," and boarded a ship going as far West as he can go. This sort of makes me wonder if he is at all familiar with Psalm 139:7&8...
Maybe that was after his time. I'm not entirely sure where Jonah falls chronologically.
So Jonah thinks he's gotten away, then a huge storm comes, and the sailors cast lots, etc.
You guys. I'm pretty sure that lot-falling-on-Jonah thing was not accidental, or luck, or what-have-you. God came right down and put that lot exactly where he wanted it.
Yeah, Jonah. You thought you could get away from ME? Well, here I am, in the middle of a storm, on a boat which is swaying and tossing on the waves like crazy, totally in control of not only the storm and the boat, but even this lot-casting.
In my Study Bible, there are a lot of C.S. Lewis quotes sprinkled about, and one of them in Jonah (which he wrote regarding Jonah) says this - "We misread much of the Old Testament because we start with the assumption that its sacred character excludes humour."
Honestly, though, the whole situation Jonah got himself into must have been kind of comical to God, don't you think? I can imagine God shaking his head and chuckling, knowing how this is going to turn out, thinking "Really, Jonah? You're really going to make me throw you into a fish before you learn that you can't get away, because I am everywhere, not just in Israel?"
It's comical to me, until I start realizing how many times God has probably had that same inner dialogue about me and my stubborn will. I can assure you that it's been more times than appear in the book of Jonah. I am so grateful, though that, no matter what sort of predicament I will myself into, He is still in control and will provide a way out for me, even if I seem to be drowned in a storm at sea.
1 year ago