Blessings in the Fish’s Belly

Have you ever just moved in disobedience when you KNEW that you were doing the ABSOLUTE WRONG thing but you couldn’t “help  yourself”?

Did you ever just choose to “just suffer through” the consequences?

Have you tried to “bargain” with God?

Lord if you do ______, I’ll do ________. 

Lord if you make my (ex) husband do right, I’ll (fill in the blank)

Lord, I found this man. He’s perfect. Now, go ahead and do YOUR thing! (As though God needed me to set the situation up in order to get it right…I was a bit full of myself!)

If you know the story of Jonah, you know that God gave specific instructions to Jonah to go to Nineveh and chastise the people there.  Jonah decided he was having NO PARTS of crying out to to Nineveh and CHOSE to travel in the opposite direction to Tarshish in an effort to escape the instructions and will of God.  

Who was Jonah to decide whether or not to be obedient? 

Like Jonah, I ran and made my own way. 

And God has dealt with me…like Jonah…I was thrown overboard. Into the sea. God also offered provision for a fish to swallow Jonah. What a blessing!!

“So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows. And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.”

‭‭Jonah‬ ‭1:15-17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Sometimes in the storm we don’t see God’s provision as a blessing at the time. The fish took Jonah to the bottom of the ocean and in the depths of affliction and troubling times Jonah called upon God. 

And God heard him. 

God had appointed a fish to consume Jonah…instead of just letting him drown in a raging sea…God used a fish to get Jonah in line. At the time, (I’m taking liberty here) I could imagine that Jonah thinking “When will I catch a break, Lord why me?!?” I don’t think I would’ve seen a huge fish coming to swallow me and thought “ooh, thank you Lord for my blessing! Things are looking up now!” 

How many times do we get thrown or throw ourselves into the raging sea and God sends another situation or circumstance into our lives and we think “Why?? Why me?? Why now?? Everything is already falling a part and now this?!? C’mon now!!! You have GOT to be kidding!!” (Insert kicking, crying, arms crossed, tantrum). 

How many times to we see the compounding situations as blessings? As opportunities to see God’s hand at work? 

When my (ex) husband’s infidelity and web of lies could no longer be ignored I didn’t initially see these situations as blessings. I saw them as me having to pay the cost for keeping MY marriage. 

But like Jonah, God heard me. 

God hears you, in your belly of the fish situation.  In the predicaments created by OUR sin, OUR disobedience, OUR mess. His grace is so abundant to not only provide but bless us in these situations!!

I was in an marriage of my choosing, with a man who on the outside was almost everything I wanted.  I traded financial security and the title of a wife for a true love match.  At 21, my biological clock was ticking. I needed a man and on the surface my ex husband was who fit the bill. Nevermind, the presumed non-negotiables in a relationship that were absent…I was on MY mission!

Please don’t misunderstand, I didn’t knock him over the head and make him propose, I didn’t nag him, or give him an ultimatum to “make him” propose. I simply dimmed my light and overplayed the parts of my personality that I knew he liked and quieted the parts of me that challenged him. 

That was my bargain. That was my manipulation. I’m owning that.  And while I am certainly not easily embarrassed (later post) I cannot believe that I’m sharing this. 

But God. 

At my core I believed that my ex husband was incapable of loving me for who I truly was. 

[But God does.]

It wasn’t in his character, 

[It’s the character of God though] 

MY marriage and MY plans and MY ex husband were idols in my life.

And I actively chose to ignore his infidelity. I had decided that his infidelity and our inability to communicate honestly was the price that I would pay for having a husband. 

I spent nights crying out, wondering how I had gotten to this place.  What had I done to deserve this SO NOT HAPPY ENDING to the fairy tale that I had so expertly crafted??

I now recognize that I allowed this to take place. I allowed myself to stay in a marriage that I KNOW was a product of my choices and my disobedience!

I don’t blame my ex husband (anymore) for the feelings that MY disobedience produced.  I don’t take ownership for his actions. He made choices. But so did I. 

I had to get in front of the mirror and really cry out to God to help me. Help me to change, to grow, to mature; not just for my own selfish reasons but to be an example for other women and for the woman my daughter will grow to become as a cautionary but redemptive testimony of how God will give you everything you need. 

You are never too far gone for God to redeem you. If you still have breath in your body you are not too far gone. 

What I had to and have to realize (over and over again might I add) is that God’s provision NEVER runs dry…God doesn’t withhold His love, grace, and mercy to “get back” at us when we are disobedient or in our stubbornness, insist on usurping God’s will and power (which is certainly fruitless anyway). That I need to seek God, pray for forgiveness, repent, accept God’s forgiveness, and move forward with Him and in His grace. 

Rest in the assurance that God hears you when you are deep in the Valley of Baca, in the belly of the big fish, at the bottom of the ocean crying out to Him.  But you must cry out, in your heart or out loud with sincerity. 

What situations have you gotten yourself in?

What provision has God provided in the depths of hard times for you?

Did you ignore the blessing of God’s provision simply because it was in the form of a complete solution that fit your plans?

Have you come to terms that everything you do will ultimately fail until you do right by God?

What are you running from? 

-Courtney 

“”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, “I called out of my distress to the LORD, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice. “For You had cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me. “So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ “Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head. “I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. “While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, And my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple. “Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness, But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.” Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.”

‭‭Jonah‬ ‭2:1-10‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭42:7‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.”

‭‭Micah‬ ‭7:19‬ ‭NASB‬‬

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