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Jonah Cast Forth By The Whale, by Gustave Doré.There are times in our lives when we feel that all is lost and our plight is hopeless.  Sometimes the weight of despair crushes us like the ocean depths threatening to squeeze the very life out our bodies.  For us there seems no tomorrow and we feel that it would be better to die today rather than face another sunrise. All our possible futures seem bleak and our strength fails.

Everyone has been in despair at some point in his or her life.  There is no shame in this and God still loves us even when we are down trodden. It is the Devil that wants to destroy any hope we have by making us imagine the worst of all possible futures. Fortunately, Satan is a liar and with God all things are possible.  Let us consider the tough spot Jonah was in for a moment. In book of Jonah we read,

“Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about; the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”

Jonah 2:1-9

Talk about being at a low place in your life!  One has trouble imagining a worse situation to be in, but when things were at their bleakest point Jonah did something that dramatically changed his situation in a hurry.  Jonah states,

“But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving, I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvations is of the LORD”

Jonah 2:9

When there is nothing in the natural realm that says we can possibly survive our present crisis that is the precise moment we must look heaven ward and believe.  If you are going through a trial today and it seems like there is no escape it is time to raise your hands to Jesus, thank Him, and praise His name despite what you see or feel.

After Jonah gave thanks to God this happened,

“And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”

Jonah 2:10

Though it looked like Jonah would die in the fish’s belly the reality was that soon he would be on dry land once again.  It is often when the hour seems darkest that our new dawn is about to break forth. All it took was for God to speak to the fish, and God did so because here was man who would praise and give thanks to Him no matter what, no matter where, no matter how. Here is a truth:

“The difference between certain death and certain deliverance is often times just a prayer of thanksgiving and a couple of hours away.”

In the Book of Acts we learn how Gods deliverance came to Paul and Silas,

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

Acts 16:25,26

Paul had been whipped 39 times and was cast, not just into prison, but also into the innermost prison, where there was no possible chance of escape.  Nothing in the natural realm looked well still he and Silas sang praises to God and deliverance came.  You see, it is not our circumstances that shape our future but rather the God we serve. Like Paul in the book of Psalms David says,

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”

Psalm 42:5

Though our souls become discouraged, our spirits can overcome these natural feelings by looking to the One in whom we trust. When we set our problems next to the majesty of the One we serve they become small and our faith soars.  If we have had a bad day our God has not changed and He is still able to deliver us.  In fact, victory over the most trying circumstances is sometimes just a matter of looking up to see the redemption that is close at hand.  Remember, a drowning man is still drowning a minute before he is rescued; however, it makes a world of difference to a drowning man’s outlook on life weather or not he looks up and sees the approaching boat.

Just as dawn never fails to follow night, God never fails to deliver those who trust in Him.  His word says that when everything seems to be crashing around us we can still declare, “Praise you Father for your everlasting faithfulness!  My life may be in ruins but you are still worthy of my praise and thanksgiving.  As long as I have breath left in my body I will tell of your mercy, love, and kindness to the world! Thou art God and there is truly none beside thee.”