Learned Lessons from the School of Jonah-Lester Parkinson
Scripture Setting: "I cried to the Lord, in my great trouble and He answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord you heard me! Jonah 2:2
The story of Jonah is one of the most discussed and fascinating accounts in all of Holy Writ. But for all the debate, one thing is certain: Jonah did a lot of soul-searching in that grimy, smelly, sea-weed laden underwater hotel. All of us can identify in some form or fashion with the calamity of Jonah's suffering. Sometimes life really goes badly. Whenever it does, like Jonah we urgently need to ask ourselves some very heart-rendering questions.
1. Is there sin in my life? In light of Jonah's blatant disobedience, the Lord, God had to do something quite drastic to catch his attention and lead him to repentance.
2. What can I learn from this situation? The perverse and wicked people of Nineveh were enemies of God's people. Jonah thought they should be judged and not given a second chance. He obviously needed a lesson in sharing God's compassion for the lost."When God saw what they had done and how they in soul-searching manner had put a stop to their evil ways, He in forgiveness changed His mind and did not carry out the destruction He had previously threatened." (Jonah ).
3. Can I display God's glory in this? Very often our suffering is not about us but about people seeing the power of God working through our weakness. Jonah found himself in a helpless situation, yet God used him to bring a pagan nation towards the spirit of repentance.
The next time we find ourselves in a "belly of a whale problem" we shouldn't forget to ask the challenging questions. It could very well mean the distinct difference between our despair and our deliverance. We can therefore learn [Jonah's] some vital lessons in the school of suffering that we can perhaps learn in no other way.