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Bouncing Back from the Bottom

(4)

Sermon shared by T. Michael Crews

May 2008
Summary: Exposition of Jonah 2
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
Success: how high you bounce when you hit bottom. - Gen. George Patton
General Pattonís words remind us that most of us hit bottom at some point. Life has its ups and downs, its highs and lows. No matter how you try to stay on the high peaks of the mountain, at some point you descend into the deep dark valley. At some point you hit bottom.
You may hit bottom when you make wrong, foolish choices, or you may hit bottom because of the wrong foolish choices of others. Failure can send you plummeting down to the depths of discouragement. When your money runs low, or your health is snatched away--when depression drags you down and you canít seem to find any hope---when you feel all alone and God feels far away-- you look around and discover youíve hit bottom.
Everybody goes through it at some time or another. Everybody hits bottom. The real issue is: how do you bounce back when you hit bottom?
Letís ask a man whoís been there. He knows whatís like to go as low as you can go. His is the story of a man whoís gone to the bottom and bounced back. His name is Jonah, and his bounce back is recorded in Jonah 2 where the Bible shows you and I how to bounce back from the bottom. Letís begin in vs. 1.
PRAYER
How do you bounce back when you hit bottom? Jonah says begin by
I. LOOKING UP IN PRAYER (v. 1)
One of the reasons God so often sends us to the bottom is to humble us.
A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as youíre looking down, you canít see something thatís above you.--C. S. Lewis
This is certainly true of Jonah.
Jonah turns his gaze away from God to himself. His pride blinds him to Godís purpose and presence. Instead of obeying God and going to Nineveh, he sets his sights on escaping to Tarshish. The storm doesnít clear up his vision. When he sees the winds and waves, he sneaks below in the shipís hold hoping to die in his sleep. Even when he gets thrown overboard Jonah is looking only for death.
But God has other plans. He sends a great fish to swallow Jonah, and keep him in time out for 3 days. During those 3 days this prodigal prophet is finally humble enough to look back up.
Jon 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fishís belly.
I donít know if he has enough room to get down on his knees, but I do know old Jonah calls out humbly to the Godís heís been running from. When he hits bottom, he begins to look up.
Has that ever happened to you?
Lots of folks say they donít have time to pray. Itís a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week world we live in. People work long hours, get home and go back to work on other things. Before you know it the whole day is over, and just before your eyes close in sleep, you whisper a quick prayer asking for God to bless everybody. When do you find time to pray?
You find time to pray when you hit bottom. When trouble grinds your life to a halt, when you become desperate to figure out what to do, suddenly you find time to pray. When you get sick or hurt and you donít know when youíll get better, youíll find time to pray. When the seeds of your disobedience produce a harvest of chastisement, suddenly, you find time to talk to the Lord. When the devil whispers that youíve gone too far, that you have no hope, that you might as well give up and get it over with, then itís time to look up in prayer to God.
When you hit bottom
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