Swimming with Jonah: “Get Me Out of Here!”
How are you doing today? Have any of you gone school shopping yet? You got new markers, crayons, notebooks, pencils, folders, and maybe new shoes, backpacks, and outfits?! When I was your age, I loved going shopping for school supplies; being able to pick out the exact crayons and markers that I wanted, the types of pencils and pens that I sought, and color coded my folders with my notebooks. As I got older and was given a locker, I enjoyed getting shelves and magnetic baskets for my locker to keep things organized. School shopping was always a great day! Not only did I have some freedom, but then I got to go out to eat for lunch! It was truly a great day!! (Some days I have the urge to go school supply shopping today!) So, I hope you enjoy getting all those new supplies!!
Last week, I asked you question. Do you remember what that question was? I asked if any of you are perfect–you have never done anything wrong. Then I said, “If you never get into trouble, if you’ve never done anything wrong, if you’ve never disobeyed Mom or Dad – put your hand up.” Guess what, no one put their hand up. Some of you even shared with me that you had to sit in time out for your actions. Its just human nature isn’t it to sometimes do something wrong.
And then we learned last week that Jonah was put into “time out.” Now that Jonah has been swallowed (gulp), it’s time for Jonah to turn his life around. The reason we get put into ‘time out’ when we don’t behave properly or we’re in trouble for doing something wrong, is so that we have time to really think about what we did. Sometimes mom or dad or maybe even your teacher might say ‘You need to think about what you just did’ or perhaps they’ll say ‘You need to think about how sorry you are’. And that’s why they send us off to ‘time out’ so that we have TIME to think about the way we behaved.
Spending all that time inside the great fish gave Jonah plenty of time to think about what he did. He prayed to the Lord from inside the fish. He confessed that he had been wrong to run from the Lord and promised to fulfill his promises to God. And then Jonah, because he realized that God was with him, yelled out, “Get me out of here!” And you know what happened? God caused the fish to spit Jonah out onto the shore. (Ewwwww!)
That’s right, Jonah was spit out of the fish and landed on dry land. Jonah wasn’t hurt. Jonah had no bruises or scrapes. Jonah was just spit onto dry land like nothing happened. Today, through Jonah, we are reminded that even though we might be placed in “time out,” God is still listening to our prayers and seeking to save us and return us back to our tasks.
Do you know what God was listening for when Jonah prayed? God was waiting for Jonah to say sorry and to promise that he will never disobey God again. Now we have all had to say sorry but have you ever had to make a promise? Making a promise is telling someone that you are going to do something. For example, you may promise to clean your room, promise to be nice to your brother or sister, promise to listen to your parents, promise to eat all your food, etc. When you make this promise, you are saying you are going to do it no matter what! Jonah promised to do what God wanted him to do. Jonah promised to obey God, so Jonah was released from “time out.”
We must always promise to God to obey God because God needs our help. Just as God had something for Jonah to do, he has a plan for you and me. I hope we will learn a lesson from Jonah. When it comes to saying sorry for your mistakes and making promises to God, we must be willing to listen always listen to God and obey Him.
Let Us Pray: God, we know we can’t hide from You. You know what we do and what we think. Give us the strength and courage to do all the things that You want us to do. And help us to say sorry and make promises to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Your Friend, Holy Spirit!
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