Now the provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1:17
It wasn’t until Jesus showed me that my husband was just as broken as I was that I began to see my husband through new eyes and with a new heart . . . a heart of grace rather than with an attitude of accusation, while learning to be as patient and loving with him as Jesus had been with me.
Winston Churchill wrote,
“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
God’s word tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Heb. 13:8) Therefore, Jesus is Lord over our past, present, and future. Before I understood that, I used my past as ammunition against those who had wounded me while justifying my actions, wrong as they were. Sin can always find ways to justify itself. I spent far too many years wading through the muck and mire of my past, and my attitude was beginning to reek with the stench of bitterness, anger, and contempt.
Eventually, I learned that the only way to revisit my past was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit as He walked me safely and securely through the maze of the most painful and confusing times of my life. With gentleness and compassion, He revealed to me of gross misinterpretations and misunderstandings with others in my life who were just as damaged as I was, and how those deeply embedded feelings and ideas became a door of opportunity for the enemy to use his most effective weapons against me, and I fell for every lie.
Jesus also revealed to me of His constant Presence and Protection, even when I chose to go my own direction. I shudder now to think of what could and likely would have happened without His divine protection and intervention, and my love for God grows deeper still. I also will never forget the night I felt God remove my awareness of His Presence from me. I believe He was still there; He just allowed me at that moment and for a short season to feel the absolute void and darkness of a life without Him. I had taken Him for granted for so long, thinking I could hide from Him.
However, there are consequences for playing games with God, like the story of Felix after hearing Paul preach of righteousness, self-control, and future judgment, he said to Paul, “Go away for the present, and when I find the time I will summon you.” (Acts 24:25)
And that’s exactly what I was saying to God.
“Go away for now, and when I find the time I will summon you.”
More so, when I find the right time—the time that I decide—when I’m finally ready to get serious about what I’ve been calling myself for years—a Christian.
The problem is,
Sin doesn’t tell time; it knows only how to makes excuses.
So, I am thankful for that period of God-ordained darkness, my season in the belly of the abyss. God’s deliverance was one of power and pain, of blessing and bitterness, of glorious truths and gut-wrenching realities, and of struggles and supplications, until I finally found myself safely on the shoreline of my calling. (Jonah 2:10)
Thank you, Father, for restoring to me the joy of Your salvation and creating a clean heart within me to sustain me as I enjoy the full life to which I was originally called. Forgive me for buying into the lies of the enemy even while I declared my love for You. Thank you for revealing to me how broken people so easily hurt others and how my brokenness only added to the chaos. It boggles my mind now to even imagine how I could think that way. I am so grateful for the freedom I have in Christ and for the means with which to share that with others. Help me to do so with grace and love, through Jesus Christ, amen. (Psalm 51:10, John 10:10, John 8:36, Ps. 90:17, Colossians 3:23-24)