Swimming with Jonah: Jonah in “Time Out”
How are you doing today? After talking about Jonah being thrown overboard into the raging sea, did any of you go swimming? With it being so hot and humid lately, swimming sounds like a really good idea! However, whenever I got in trouble during the summer, put in time out for doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, I wasn’t allowed to go swimming. Have any of you ever been put in time out? Today, we learn that Jonah was put in “time out” so that he could talk to God. But first, let me remind you what we talked about last week.
Last week, Jonah got swallowed by a great, huge, large, enormous fish. Would you be okay with being swallowed by a large fish? Believe it or not, this large fish reminds us that God is looking out for us, that God is willing to save us, and that God is willing to provide for us even when we don’t always obey or do the right thing. God is going to make sure that you are saved. Jonah reminds us that we need to allow God to take control of our life, we need to allow God to save us, and we need to pray to God so that God can forgive us of our sins and wrongdoings. Just like Jonah, we need to be swallowed by the saving grace of God.
I want to start by asking everyone a question and I want you all to be very honest and tell the truth – put your hand up if you are a perfect child. 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. No one? Not one of you huh? Well, thank you for your honesty. Its just human nature isn’t it to sometimes do something wrong. None of us are perfect are we? Let me ask all the adults shall I – are any of you perfect? See, adults aren’t perfect either. So if you’re not perfect, I’m sure that means you’ve probably been in trouble a few times haven’t you. Maybe you even had to do something we call ‘time out’ right. Have any of you been put in ‘time out’? Maybe you have to sit on a special chair ‘the naughty chair’ or the bottom step of the stairs. Maybe you even have to go to your room. Do any of you have to do that sometimes?
Did you ever consider that God might have been putting Jonah in ‘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.
Now, as I said before, your ‘time out’ might be on a chair, or a step or a carpet or even perhaps in the corner, and you probably only have to spend two or three minutes there, maybe a few more. But Jonah upset God so much by disobeying him that he had to spend three whole days inside the tummy of that big fish. I’m sure it was very nasty in there. But Jonah didn’t just sit inside that fish doing nothing. He took the time to think about what he had done. And he decided to pray to God. He thanked God for all he had done for him, and for saving him when he was drowning and he praised God.
I don’t think any of you will end up inside the belly of a big fish for three days to do ‘time out’ but if you end up on the ‘naughty chair’ or get sent to your room for a few minutes to think about what you did, I want you to use that time wisely. Do what Jonah did. Talk to God! Say your prayers. Tell him how thankful you are for everything he does for you and ask him to help you behave better next time.
Let’s pray: Dear God, thank you for loving us and caring for us so much. Help us to take ‘time out’ of our day to remember you and all that you do for us. In your name we pray. Amen.
Your Friend, Holy Spirit!
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