Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A word from M. Craig Barnes

(whale photo from Google)

This morning, I read the following while I sipped my coffee.  It kinda hit me. I don't totally feel this way right now, but I think you've heard me say that there have been many times when I want to throw myself on the floor and kick and scream so that things can be the way I want them to be. 

And yet... I know there's a bigger plan.  

Thank you, again, for the many ways you have supported and continue to support our family.

Love to you all.

Riding Around in Sheol
(from Extravagant Mercy by M. Craig Barnes)

Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. 
                                                                       -Jonah 2:2

Read Jonah 2:1-11

To avoid the mission God had given him in Nineveh, Jonah tried sailing to Tarshish. Yet God has his own unique ways of getting us where he wants us to be. So Jonah got to ride back to Nineveh inside the belly of a great fish. The three days he spent in that fish did wonderful things for his prayer life, which may have been more important to God than getting Jonah to the right place.

It is easy to get lost in the critical debates about whether or not this story really happened, but that misses the point of the Scripture. Sure, I think it could have happened. God can do whatever he wants. The real question, though, is not whether it did happen, but whether it does happen. Do people still start off in one direction, then get swallowed up in something awful, only to discover that the crisis has actually brought them to the right place with God? You bet that happens. I see it all the time.

Sooner or later, we all spend time in the belly of Sheol. It's the place where you thought you were going to die, or maybe even the place where you wished you would die. It's so dark there that you can't find any reason to keep hoping.

Now you are at the hardest part of the story to believe. Is God really using this for good? Absolutely. Your ability to see that, however, will depend completely on your prayer life while you're riding around in Sheol.

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