But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1:17 (NIV)
Now, that’s a usage of that word that I would have never considered. What word? You “provided” a great fish to swallow Jonah. I hope that you never “provide” something like that for me. Why is that? I don’t what to find myself living in the belly of a great big smelly fish. I don’t want to see myself barfed up on a beach somewhere. What did Jonah do? Jonah listened to your instructions and then did the exact opposite of what you asked of Him. You asked him to go one way. He went the other. You asked him to do one thing. He did another. Should I have let him go and do exactly the opposite of what I had asked of him? Would you like me to let you go and do what is not pleasing to me? Should I let you live a life that is in direct opposition to my will? No, if I am headed in the wrong direction then I ask you to turn my life around. I don’t want to live a life that is in direct opposition to your will. I want to live a life that is pleasing to you. I want to go where you guide me. I want to do what you ask of me. Are you sure? Yes, I am sure. That’s good.
What will you say and do if I ask you to do something that is difficult? What will you say and do if I ask you to do something that is unpleasant? What will you do if I ask you to do some that is foreign and unfamiliar? What will you do is if I ask you to do something that is embarrassing and unpopular? What will you say and do if I ask you to do something that is far beyond your gifts and talents and abilities and resources? Those are all very tough questions. I don’t have the answer to each one of them. I don’t know what I would say and do in every case. It is my hope and prayer that I will always willingly and joyfully go and do whatever you ask of me. I don’t want to rebel. I don’t want to shrink back. I don’t want to fall short. I want to know and do your will. I will tell you one thing. What’s that? I give you permission to “provide” whatever I need to be able to go and do your will. I just hope and pray that I don’t need a big smelly fish or a large kick in the pants so that I will readily go and do your will. You can be sure of one thing. What’s that? I will “provide” whatever you need to go and do what I ask of you. That’s good. Yes, it is.
Lord, I know that I have not always obeyed you. I have not gone and done what you asked me to do for you. Forgive me. Help me now to follow and serve you. I will go wherever you guide me. I will do whatever you ask of me. Amen
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