by PASTOR RON AULBACH
Imagine yourself lying on the beach, watching the waves lap against the shore. It’s another record breaking day of heat and humidity, with no relief in sight. You decide it’s time to take a dip and cool off, but as you wade into the water a huge fish swims towards you. Just before it beaches, its’ enormous jaws open and out comes an ear deafening belch. The deep bellowing ‘burrrrp,’ produces a large amount of seaweed, several half digested fish, a volleyball named Wilson, and to your great surprise, a man who is barely alive. The smell is overwhelming, but the man reaches out his slimy hand and says, “Hi my name is Jonah. Man, is it good to be out of there!”
It’s one of the strangest verses in the bible, “And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” (Jonah 2:10). I’m sorry if you are reading this while sipping a cup of coffee or eating a cinnamon roll, but I will never forget hearing this story as a little 6 year old in my Sunday School class. These are the stories adult teachers relish, “Do what God says, or a giant fish will eat you.” It was a toss up whether I was more scared of Jonah’s fish or a ferocious shark named Jaws. God wants our obedience, that’s true. But the really good news for Jonah is that God cared enough to rescue him the moment he asked. Jonah went from fish food to rescued the moment he cried out to God. Sure, it looked like vomit, but it was better than death.
What would rescue look like for you? Maybe you’re like Jonah and the problems of life have absolutely swallowed you. The boss is unbearable. The kids are a mess. Financial burdens are weighing you down. Maybe your life is swallowed up by sin and disobedience. It’s never to late to call out for rescue. Deep in the belly of whale, God heard Jonah’s prayer “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, O Lord. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jonah 2:7-8). May that be your prayer today, and may God be your rescue too.