Day 23. JONAH’S TRIP TO SHEOL

Read Jonah 2:1-10 ‘Whom the Lord loves, he beats the hell out of’!’ (Heb.12:6). My dying experience signalled I was finished, all washed up, and possibly a ‘goner’. I was too weak to read the Bible, too drugged to even think clearly, too helpless to pray, too weak to rejoice. But God had other plans, as he did for Jonah also.

A major highlight was the timely card and note sent by my friend Terry Virgo, just three weeks into this strange ordeal. In it, he said that the Lord had indicated to him in prayer, that I was Jonah! “Wait and see’ the message said, ‘You will live again… emerge from the grave and the experience of being buried alive in the fish’s belly, then restored to your wife, your family and your ministry. The best years of your life are yet to come!” It didn’t seem remotely likely, or even possible at the time, since the chances of pulling through were virtually nil. But Terry Virgo was right. I lived again! G.K. Chesterton said, “The most incredible thing about miracles, is that they happen!”

There are times in the Christian life when God kills us dead (v.7-9) We have to die. Die to what we were, die to what we did. Allow our agenda, our reputation, our plans, and even our future, to be executed, finished, dead and gone – seemingly forever. It happens to preachers, pastors, churches, institutions, major ministries, and movements. And it may happen to you! But God does this to save us.

  • When we’ve been on the run in self-will independent from God.
  • When we tightly hold on to things, as if they were ours and not His. That ‘ministry’ has now become an idol. Let it go.
  • When we just go though the motions of service with no anointing, in a work that has run out of relevance and steam.
  • When God wants to have special dealings with us in ‘top secret’ meetings in a place he alone has arranged to recalibrate us.
  • When God has better plans for your life than anything you could arrange, something new and much, much better than your plan.

So, that broadcast goes off the air, the Christian rock band ‘breaks up’, the pastor resigns, the numbers dwindle, and the church finally closes its doors, until we say, “It’s all over. I’m now ‘history’.” You are all ‘washed up, dead and gone. You feel unravelled, dismantled, devastated and destroyed! But God can surprise us again. Just wait!

Before you whine to men, speak to God. Ask him for a fresh start.