Out of the Depths
by: Rev. David Bast
“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish.” It seems like a minor detail but it’s not. This is a turning point marking the moment when Jonah stopped running from God and turned back toward him for help.
Jonah’s prayer reads very much like one of the psalms. (Someone has counted 16 different allusions to the psalms here.) When Jonah was in trouble, he found comfort and strength from the words of Scripture. He calls to the Lord “out of the belly of Sheol” (2:2)—from the realm of death itself.
Have you ever been down so low, in so deep, that you were sure there was no escape? What did you do then? Jonah had only one option left. He called to God for help. But wait a minute! God was the very one Jonah had been disobeying. What right did Jonah have now to suddenly remember the Lord and turn to him for help?
The answer is: he had no right at all, any more than any of us does. But here’s an amazing thing: whatever we may have done, however deep the hole into which we’ve gotten ourselves, however far we’ve gone from God, if we turn back to him and call on his name really meaning what we say, God will hear and save. You might think God would be offended at being used like that, but he’s not. He really is amazingly gracious.