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The most famous part of the story of Jonah in the Old Testament is the moment in his life when he was swallowed by a huge fish:

17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said:

“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry. Jonah 1:17-2:2

Jonah had a “come to Jesus” conversation in the belly of a whale. It’s hard to keep your dignity and pride when you’re being partially digesting by a whale. So, he decides it’s as good of a time as any to get his life right. Here’s the finish of his prayer:

8 “Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.

9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Jonah 2:8-10

Some of you have been there. No dignity, no pride, life has beaten you up and literally vomited you back onto dry land. You never, ever, ever thought you would be where you are today. You never thought your career would turn out this way, that your marriage would turn out this way, that your kids would turn out this way. You never thought you would grow old, that you would lose your health, that you would lose your retirement.

Whatever it might be, some of you have been and maybe you are right now in the belly of the whale. When you’re there, when you’ve been humbled by life or by God, you can give up, you can get angry, or you can get right.

 

If you’re in the belly of the whale, make the most of it.

It’s no fun being in the belly of the whale. No one asks for it, you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. But sometimes you find yourself where you never thought you’d be. So, when you’re there, make the most of it. James, the half brother of Jesus, talked about this in the New Testament:

6 That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”

10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:6, 10

This is called repentance. You can either humble yourself, or you will be humbled in the belly of the whale. Either way, we will all be humbled. That’s not a fun fact we like to celebrate, but it is a fact. So, when life has you beat down, you can give up, you can get angry, or you can get right. It’s never fun being in the belly of the whale, but when you’re there, might as well make the most of it.

 

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