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Where Is God?

Rev. Dave Adams

Jonah 2

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying,

“I called to the Lord out of my distress,

    and he answered me;

out of the belly of Sheol I cried,

    and you heard my voice.

3 You cast me into the deep,

    into the heart of the seas,

    and the flood surrounded me;

all your waves and your billows

    passed over me.

4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away

    from your sight;

how shall I look again

    upon your holy temple?’

5 The waters closed in over me;

    the deep surrounded me;

weeds were wrapped around my head

6  at the roots of the mountains.

I went down to the land

    whose bars closed upon me forever;

yet you brought up my life from the Pit,

    O Lord my God.

7 As my life was ebbing away,

    I remembered the Lord,

and my prayer came to you,

    into your holy temple.

8 Those who worship vain idols

    forsake their true loyalty.

9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving

    will sacrifice to you;

what I have vowed I will pay.

    Deliverance belongs to the Lord!”

10 Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out onto the dry land.

“WHERE IS GOD?!?!!?”  This is a question we all have asked ourselves when life is difficult.  

We want answers.  We want things to feel better.  In short, we want God’s healing to come to us, to restore us, and to renew our faith. Still, when it feels as if everything is working against us, it often seems easier to run away from our problems…from our life…from God.

I have asked myself this question.  

And, this question also hits me like a punch in the stomach when I consider the suffering, pain, confusion, and heartache that are present all around us. It makes me cry out to God for “HELP” on behalf of everyone who finds themselves at the bottom of the barrel, wondering how and when they will find their way out.

So, today I am thinking about Jonah, a man who tried to run away from God because he felt as though God was placing too much on his plate. In his attempt to flee from God’s presence, he found himself in the belly of a whale, which is probably about as far away from God as one could imagine. And yet, even in this darkness, fear, and isolation, God was with him, reminding him that nothing could separate him from God’s love, grace, mercy, and providence.  

“Out of my despair I cried to you and you answered me.  From the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.”  Jonah 2:3

For me, Jonah is a perfect example of a lesson I once heard in a sermon:  “Thus far, no state of being has been without God’s presence.” Indeed, no matter how dark, slimy, painful, confusing, depressing, and lonely our story might be, God’s presence is still there. 

And, as resurrection people, we know that through Jesus – who knows what suffering and pain feels like – we are able to be God’s presence for others, shining God’s love and mercy into life’s difficult moments. 

Prayer

Holy God, hear me when I cry to you, helping me to see your presence in my neighbors. And help me to be your presence when my neighbors are crying to you. Amen.



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