195 Insights from the Belly of the Whale

"Salvation is of the Lord!" Those were the magic words that got Jonah out of the belly of the whale (Jonah 2.9).

Jesus prophetically compared Jonah's experience inside the whale to the three days he would spend in Hades between His crucifixion and resurrection.

He also invited His followers to take up their cross upon themselves and follow Him.

In other words, every true believer is going to go through their own experience in the "belly of the whale" at one time or another, experience their own "3 days in hell." And it's usually not until we realize that salvation is truly of the Lord, that we emerge from it.

What's so special about that revelation, that salvation is of the Lord? Because before we find out, we try to save ourselves by any thinkable and possible means. The Lord is always our last resort, after all else has failed. Usually, anyway.

We first expect our own wits, strengths and efforts to save us, and if they won't do, then at least some tangible, visible and audible person of flesh and blood to pull us out, and sometimes, God in His mercy will send such a person along. But if He's been trying to teach you to rely on Him and Him alone, and you have any sort of rank or validity as a prophet, even a disobedient prophet like Jonah, you can be pretty sure there'll be no other hand pulling you out of that whale except God's.

When God has become truly all that you have got left, then that's where you can probably safely say, "Welcome to Rock Bottom Club!"

When everyone else is gone, every other crutch kicked away, those people who have made you depend on them like a drug only stand by and watch you go through your withdrawals from afar while getting the next junkie in line hooked on them, then it's time to find out whether God is really enough or not.

It will prove whether your faith was merely a pretty bubble that popped at the introduction of the needle, reduced to a little splash in the face, or whether it was something solid, something your life can depend on.

If we're honest, the role to which we often restrict God in our lives is not much more than a slap in His face.

It's those belly-of-the-whale experiences that restore Him to His proper position in our life as our only hope, our only true Savior.

When the fakes are gone and have faded away, it's time for the true Savior to step in and show that it is in His power alone to save, and "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm" (Jer.17:5).

Down there, in the belly of the whale, you find out who your friends really are.

And once the fish has vomited you out, back on dry land, you may not feel like much more than just that: a pile of fish vomit, but at least you've got a much clearer perspective now of your world around you and who and what you can really rely on, without all the deceiving appearances and delusions that blurred your vision previously.

You may have tried to figure out every possible way, tactic and maneuver out of the dark, going through all the possible tricks, measures or merely lucky events that might save you out of your fix, but in the end, the sum of your wisdom boiled down to this: "Salvation is of the Lord." No one and nothing else will ever cut the cake or do the trick. No one.

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