The last few months have been really tough for me. I can't really explain it because they've been good. And sometimes it's hard when things are good on the outside and not quite right on the inside. It's like thinking you are getting a chocolate covered caramel when you pick one from a box and you get one of those weird fruit fluff filled ones instead. It's not that what is on the inside is bad...it's just not what you were hoping for.
One of my favorite things to do is to read the Little Guy his story at night. He loves reading Bible stories and even requests them at naptime as well. He has specific lines that he will recite and sometimes when we pray he "thanks Jesus" for certain characters. My favorite story he tells is Jonah. He tells us how God said "Go to Nineveh and stop doing bad things!" and all about the storm and the sailors and the big fish. It's fabulous.
I was prompted to read the story of Jonah during my quiet time the other day and was totally struck by the last verse in the first chapter.
Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah
I surprised by the word provided. This story is one of those stories that you learn when you are two. And sometimes I forget what you can learn from just a word in a story. The Bible is pretty cool like that. You'll read a verse at a different time in your life and it will stand out to you or minister to you in a way that it never has before.
Anyway. Even though Jonah disobeyed God, he provided a fish. He didn't just send a fish. A fish just didn't appear. God provided the fish.
How many times am I frustrated with my circumstances? How often do I complain about this or that? Too often to admit. Instead when things aren't perfect, because hello living the the belly of a whale for 3 days and 3 nights definitely isn't my idea of perfection, I need to be thankful. I need to realize God has provided this circumstance for me. Maybe it was to save me. Maybe it was to teach me a lesson. I may never know. But the belly of the whale that God provided isn't that bad of a place to be.
The fish didn't just swallow Jonah by chance. And we don't go through certain hard times or even easy times in our life by chance. So the next time my life is starting to smell a little fishy I'm going to remember to be thankful that God provided those circumstances for me and try to be teachable and receptive in that moment.
Whales or "big fish" seem to be a theme at our house lately!