Summary: If you feel like you’re in a trial: just know God has you there for a reason!
God’s got me right where he wants me
Bible tells us the familiar story of the ministry of the Jonah. The son of Amittai of Gath-hepher, he was a prophet of Israel who in 2 Kings 14 predicted the restoration of the ancient boundaries of the kingdom. He exercised his ministry very early in the reign of Jeroboam II, and was a contemporary of the prophets Hosea and Amos.
In this book God spoke to him and said to go declare the word of the Lord to the wicked city Nineveh. Founded by Nimrod, the great grandson of Noah, Nineveh was called “the bloody city” by Nahum the prophet. Reason being, it was bad to start wars and be cruel to its captives. They would do things like cut the hands, feet, nose, and ears of the captives, putting out people’s eyes, and making mounds out of human heads. It was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, a wealthy city that was (at the time of Jonah) Israel’s great enemy.
You understand the reason Jonah refused to go preach to them. In his eyes, they were too vile to receive the word of God, and knew that if they heard it and responded to it, that God would forgive them. *If we would all have that same faith in the preaching of the word! Jonah knew the word would change people, while most of us think it is useless to preach this gospel. But Bible declares “the preaching of the cross is to those that perish, foolishness. But to us who are saved it is the power of God”.
Jonah decided to get on a ship and head to a city called Tarshish. Tarshish was famous for its ships which carried gold, silver, iron, tin, lead, ivory, apes, and monkeys. Because the ships of Tarshish carried such great riches, they became symbols of wealth, power, and pride. It was a city of self-sufficiency, and by going there he wouldn’t have to worry about preaching to heathenistic, horrible people.
But suddenly, while on the ship a massive storm came up and all on board were in danger. The people cast lots, and they fell on Jonah. He convinced them that if they would throw him overboard the storm would cease, and it did.
Next thing you know, a huge fish comes up and swallows Jonah, and (as he puts it) in the belly of hell he cried out to the Lord, and he heard him. *It was in this place, while being covered in gastric juices and seaweed that Jonah fully understood and discovered the place God wanted him to be in. It was a luxurious place, it wasn’t peaceful, and it wasn’t comfortable. But at that point in time, it was the perfect will of God for this prophet.
Let me tell you, there are times when we as Christians are high in the clouds, soaking up the blessings of the Lord. In these moments, it seems like nothing could go wrong. Our families are healthy, we have plenty of food/money, ministry is going well, plenty of friends, etc. But there are those times, irregardless of how spiritual you are, when you find yourself in a place of sorrow, grief, trouble, and pain. It doesn’t always mean you’ve sinned. But it is the place God wants you for that season/time. It is a place where he can have your undivided attention. It’s a place where he’ll be able to speak into your life and you’ll be willing to listen. And it’s in these moments that your faith grows, and you become who God wants you to be. *In the midst of it all, lift your hands to glory, and without murmuring shout out, “God’s got me right where he wants me to be!”