I am curious. Have you ever been swimming?
Which is your favorite – swimming at the beach or swimming in a pool?
Both can be tons of fun. Except when you accidently swallow water. Ewwww-Yuck! I hate it when that happens! I wonder if the great fish that swallowed Jonah thought that? Remember the story of Jonah? The prophet who tried to run away from God but was tossed into the sea and swallowed by a great fish. If not you can find the humorous version here.
I’ve been thinking about how scary that must have been for Jonah. Way worse than swallowing too much water. Maybe like when you swim too far down and have to work really hard to get back up to the surface. Sometimes you can feel a little panicky and distressed when that happens. Distress is a pretty big word, isn’t it? It means pain or anxiety. Yikes anxiety is a big word too! Let’s see…
Being distressed is like when you are in your room at night and all snuggly for bed. Your parents kiss you goodnight and turn off the lights and close your door. In the dark you think you are seeing things. Maybe those things remind you of scary monsters or alligators under your bed. For a moment you panic and want to scream and holler.
I bet that’s what Jonah wanted to do – scream and holler. Oh wait a minute – that’s what he did do! Jonah chapter 2 verse 1 says, From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me… Smart Jonah! Not panicking and giving into his distress but calling out to God for help.
I bet that was really comforting to Jonah to call out and pray to God like that. Can you imagine? Sitting all alone in the belly of a fish? I bet it was dark and smelly. I imagine there wasn’t a lot of room and even if there was you wouldn’t want to move much. I imagine it was scary and calling out to God helped Jonah to find comfort. Like when you call out to your parents when you feel panicky and distressed from being in the dark. Your parents come and comfort you don’t they? They turn on the lights, hug you, and talk about the items in your room that looked like scary monsters in the dark but are actually the toys and clothes you should have put away before bed. 😉
That is what God does for us when we call out in our distress. When we pray and call out, God comes and shows us the way and makes us feel loved. We are not sure exactly how this comfort from God happens (we aren’t God so we can’t really know) but we know that somehow things get better.
I think God’s comfort happens through the people that love God. They give us hugs and tell us how much we are loved by God. They remind us about the people of God who cried out when they were scared and turned to God for help – this way we know we are not alone and definitely not the only people who have ever felt anxious and panicky. God’s comfort also happens through a peaceful feeling that comes when you talk to God.
I am thankful for Jonah and the reminder that it is okay to cry out to God when I am feeling anxious, panicky, or distressed. I am also thankful for the time to go clean my room! 😛