ODJ: with us

October 26, 2014 

READ: Jonah 2:1-10 

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish (v.1).

Harrison Odjegba Okene had been trapped 100 feet underwater for more than 72 hours. His air and his hope were running thin. The Nigerian was a cook on a tugboat that sank in the Atlantic Ocean in May 2013, leading to the deaths of the 11 other crew members. Harrison, however, found his way to a small cabin with a small, dwindling air pocket where he shivered as temperatures plummeted. Comforted by psalms he had memorised, prayers to God and memories of his wife, Harrison clung to life. When rescue divers arrived, they pulled four corpses out of the water and assumed Harrison would be the fifth. But when a diver reached for Harrison’s hand, he was surprised when Harrison reached back!

Surely you’ve never been inside a fish’s belly, but it’s likely you have experienced times of great strife and intense hardship. You’ve been backed into a corner where it seemed there was no way out. You’ve wondered if there was any hope, any possibility of change, any relief. My hunch is that in these places—like Jonah—you prayed.

I love his straightforward prayer: “I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble” (Jonah 2:2). Where else can we go when we’re in great trouble? Who else can we turn to when our hearts are broken and our resources have run dry and our dilemmas have no solutions? Jonah’s raw, honest words were met with a simple yet profound response: “[God] answered me” (v.2).

When we’re most desperate, God is near. His kind promise is that He will never forsake us. There’s no water too deep or corner too dark for Him. Jonah proclaimed that God had “snatched [him] from the jaws of death!” (v.6). He is near us—with us—even when all seems lost. —Winn Collier

365-day plan› Acts 11:19-29

Read Psalm 55:22 and note what it says to do when we’re facing the troubled waters of life. 
Where’s your deep and dark place right now? Pause and take your concerns to God, seeking His mercy. Watch for the ways He draws near!