“When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple.” Jonah 2:7 NLT
I find it quite interesting that the above scriptures are not a prayer for deliverance but a prayer of thanksgiving. Jonah had just been through a harrowing experience: first he went through a violent storm at sea; then the crew of the ship cast him overboard; he sank to the bottom of the sea; and was scarfed up into the belly of a great fish. All of which could have resulted in certain death, but instead somehow, by the grace of God, Jonah has spent 3 days in the belly of this great fish. One would think he would be crying out for help – bargaining with God - I wouldn’t blame him if he did; but no, instead, while sitting in the belly of the great fish for 3 days here we find Jonah praising God and giving thanks to Him for saving him from sure death at the bottom of the sea.
Now think about this for a moment; Jonah is still in the belly of the great fish and yet he is thanking the Lord for saving him and telling the Lord he will keep his vows and serve Him.
Obviously Jonah is not in the position to bargain for his life with God. Here he is a prophet of God who ran away from his responsibilities and now in the belly of the great fish; and yet somehow through faith he knows that God will save him – and God alone (verse 9). Even in the belly of the great fish – in all his troubles, Jonah tells the Lord, thank you for saving my life!
I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to bargain with God and have said, “Lord, if only you would remove my chronic pain, or our financial situation or _________ (whatever the situation may be), I will do anything you ask!” No, that is not what the Lord desires or us. Our troubles should cause us to cleave to our LORD and not run away. Sometimes there is a lesson to learn, or miracle He wants to perform through our sufferings and troubles.
Instead of bargaining with the Lord we need to see our situation as an opportunity to praise the Lord for what He has already done in our life and for what He will continue to do in our life for His glory. We need to take our eyes off of ourselves and our current pain and trials and allow Him to use us right where we are today.
Just as Jonah was praising the Lord while still in the belly of the great fish, so should we praise the Lord even in the midst of our chronic illness/pain, financial woes and trials or whatever your situation may be at this time.
“Dear Lord, I don’t know how you can use this old broken down woman for your service – but even so Lord – I will praise you through the storms of this life until I take my final breath on earth and wake up on your celestial shores. “
How about you, are you bargaining with God to take away your pain, troubles, and trials? Or are you praising Him through the storm? Is there something the Lord wants you to do but you feel you have to wait until you are healed or your troubles are gone?