I’ve really been fed by the minor prophets lately in my quiet time. I used to dislike these books - there was destruction; death; God coming for his disobedient people - over & over & over again.
But the past several weeks have turned into months were I’m going back to Hosea, back to Amos & Obadiah & Joel. I’m digging in Jonah again today, and I realized with tears yet again how our God is in such relentless pursuit of our hearts. I’m seeing just how merciful He is. Jesus came as a physical representation of what God had been trying to tell His people for years.
God does not need perfect circumstances to draw us closer to Him.
God graciously - graciously - allowed Jonah to be swallowed by a whale. When I read this or was taught it in Sunday School it was God sending a whale; & of course it was thought of as a punishment. But yesterday I realized that God simply provided that whale, to save His still beloved son from the storm. God wanted Jonah for the job he was called to do. He gives specific callings to specific people; so I can look at my perceived imperfections & failings, my thinking, “there has got to be someone better,” and say no. God wants me, just like He wanted Jonah, for my specific, special calling in life.
If Jonah knew beforehand that he’d be swallowed by a whale, would he ever have been on that boat? When God’s whale removes him, he sees that clearly death is not the worst-case scenario - life without God is. I “don’t want” to go through storms and unhappy darkness & sit in the underbelly of the whale. But these are the places where grace usually meets us. Sometimes grace is messy and dark; sometimes mercy is painful and scary. But God does not need perfect circumstances to draw us closer to Him.
And suddenly I understood. I understood why & how, when something that I so desperately wanted to work out a few short months ago ended in a heap at my feet over the weekend, I could thank God that I had been seated in a very similar whale. He loves & He saves.