“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.” Jonah 2:7 (NIV).
Continuing a thought from the other day: when we are at our lowest, our prayers still rise to God. More importantly, He always hears them because He’s always present.
In this verse, Jonah recognized that he was low, that he was dying, that he was in a place where his actions had put him. Then he prayed, and his prayers ROSE to God. God was above the depths; God was over him; God was still holy in His temple. Did you catch what Jonah missed?
He remembered God. It’s safe to assume that the terribly strange circumstances of being inside a fish had preoccupied Jonah up to now. Worries about himself preoccupied Jonah’s mind until he reached the point of desperation. That’s when he remembered God. He remembered God and began to pray, and he immediately realized that God was bigger than all this. That God heard him, even from inside the fish deep in the sea.
Jonah forgot that God was there.
One of my favorite parts of “The Shack” is when Mack is talking with God the Father (Papa) about marks on His hands and Papa says that they are from Jesus’ crucifixion. “Don’t ever think that what my son chose to do didn’t cost both of us dearly. Love leaves a mark. I never left him and I never left you.”
God never left Jesus, even on the cross, even in the tomb, even descending to hell, even during resurrection. God the Father, Son, and Spirit was still fully God and fully man during the entire time. The mystery of the trinity is beyond our comprehension, how the Father could completely turn from the sin laid on the Son but still be fully with Him. It is impossible to separate them, to make them less than three-in-one. Everywhere one goes, they go together. Everywhere.
Including with Jonah. God never left Jonah. God was there with Jonah inside the fish. Even when Jonah didn’t think about it. Even when his (understandable) worries got him down, God was there with him. As soon as Jonah remembered God, he realized this and knew his prayers were heard.
God was with him. Immanuel; “God with us,” which is another name for “Jesus.” Before Jonah knew Jesus, Jesus was with Jonah.
It’s the same with us. No matter what terrible things happen; no matter when phenomenal and wonderful things happen. On top of Everest or at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, God is there. When we are rebellious in sin or giving glory in worship, God is with us at all times.
For further reading: 2 Chronicles 30:27, Psalm 11:4, Psalm 77:11-12, Jonah 2:8
Oh omnipresent Lord, You are everywhere. Praise to You, You are always with me.
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