First of all, a shout out to one of my dearest friends, Christin, who so generously sends me bits and pieces of her daily devotions and who has loved me through so many ups and downs this year! Looking back over the last several months, I can honestly say, she has been my logic (we joke about this, but it’s true), she’s been that person I can send a random text to at 3:30 in the afternoon that just says, “Today sucks” and she understands. She gets me. I get her. And I am so blessed to call her friend. Oh, did I mention we’ve been friends since second grade? Yeah, that was almost 20 years ago so I think it’s safe to say we’re in this for the long haul. Love you, Christin.
Today Christin sent a text that said this (I’m paraphrasing): Jonah was a pain in the butt. Something I never noticed was that God provided a big fish…hmmm…God’s provisions sometimes look like a big fish. It wasn’t his punishment, it was his salvation. I read her text, but was then distracted by two of my kiddos who decided that eating the crayons was way more fun than coloring with them. I would say that I don’t see the logic in that but I’m sure my teachers thought the same of me when I thought it would be more fun to glue my hands together instead of work on the project like the rest of the kids. Paybacks, people. Anyway, back to Christin’s text. Tonight I got a wild hair and thought I’d try to run a 15k because that’s what I’m training for anyway. Christin and I are running the Tulsa race in October so tonight I decided, what the hey, I’m gonna just go for it. So I had a LOT of time to think while I ran. I started thinking about her text and how she said that we often times mistake God’s provision as punishment. I look back at where I was a year ago. I was so far at the bottom, miserable, hurting, dying inside, lonely, broken, aching, and I didn’t think there would ever be a way out. Then, on my birthday, of all days, one of the most devastating things happened to me. At the time I really thought, “Well, this is it. This is God’s punishment on my life.” I was 25 years old and had to call my parents (talk about embarrassing) to drive all the way to Iowa to pick me up and bring me back to Missouri because a person that I had given my whole life to had taken that life and killed every living thing inside my heart. All emotion, all self-worth, all my joy, all my life, I allowed him to take from me. The most devastating thing that had happened in all the years that I had spent with this person happened on my birthday and I thought it really was because I had run from God for so long. But looking at Jonah and how he ran from God’s calling, jumped on a ship instead of preaching to the people of Nineveh like God asked him to, then was thrown from the ship while in the middle of the sea only to be swallowed by a whale (or big fish as some versions say)…..Um hello…..are you seeing the comparison, too? I’ve always read this story and thought, “Well, that served him right. He shouldn’t have ran from God and he wouldn’t have been swallowed by the whale.” But you see, that whale was his salvation. That whale kept him from drowning at sea. That whale swallowed him up then spit him up on the shore. How many times have I heard this story since I was a kid? Hundreds. And I’ve never applied it to real life situations. When my heart was broken almost a year ago, I thought that it was my punishment. But looking back, I see the blessing in disguise. I see that it was my salvation. Had I not been hurt to my core, had I not had a family that was willing to drive all the way to Iowa to get me, I would still be running. I would still be hurting.
Thank you, Christin, for that reminder. What are some “big fish” in your life? I love to hear stories of God’s provision. Love you, all.