Then, I started thinking about what the neighbors would think if, on any given morning, they peeked over the fence and saw this pensive creature with a fluffy robe, crazy hair, coffee in hand, and bible on lap. Maybe they would say something like, “what a lucky husband you have”. Then I would say something like, “Get off my fence and back where you belong; btw, do you have a church home?” All of the scenarios were making me laugh.
Realizing that I was a mental nomad, I went, seriously, back to my quiet time. God led me to Jonah this morning. Let’s face it, the story is hysterical. I can see myself in every moment of that book, running, saying throw me over the side boys, giving up, obeying, whining, and being disciplined.
During all of this, Tess, my dog, was chasing bugs…very seriously, might I add. I don’t think that she has every caught anything that she has hunted, which makes her that much more endearing. The only thing that she ever killed was a fly, which she nose-butted against the kitchen door. I think that she was trying to bite it but misjudged the distance. I have never killed anything with my nose; I can only imagine the sense of accomplishment that it would bring.
So, thinking about all of these things…I returned to Jonah…ever so seriously. I started thinking about how funny it would be to tell the story from the appointed bush’s perspective. Again…mental nomad, I finally just said, “God, are you smiling?” See, too many things had worked against my attempts at stoic religiosity, and as Jonah shows us, you can run but God is going to set the tone. So, I enjoyed Him this morning…as per His request.
He shared with me the idea of deliverance. After talking about the temptations of Christ, and His amazing example of endurance and the final deliverance that comes when the angels care for Him, I reveled in the victory of my Lord. I was so glad that He could finally experience peace away from the evil one. Jonah had deliverance, also. Each of these represent two ends of the spectrum of deliverance.
Christ’s deliverance was wonderful, Matthew 4: 11, NRSV, “Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.” I can just imagine the angels caring for Jesus, refreshing and renewing Him so that He could continue His ministry. I see a glass of sweet tea and palm fronds…a little R&R before He set out again. I have felt like this. During the period of my surgery last year, I knew what it was like to have nothing of myself left. I was exhausted. The immediate relief of pain that I felt with the surgery, and the care given by my husband, mom and dad, were like angels coming to my side and filling my mouth with every kind of pie imaginable.
I have also felt the deliverance of Jonah in chapter 2. Verse 9 and 10 say, “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Deliverance belongs to the Lord!” Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon the dry land.”
I have spoken the words of thanksgiving and continued allegiance in the midst of trial. I have offered my sacrifices at His throne of grace; and I have claimed His deliverance and offered it back to Him. And then…just like Jonah, there was sort of a hiccup, and I felt like I had been spewed out rather than attended to. Deliverance is a funny thing. We don’t always feel victorious, sometimes we feel a little beat up, and sometimes we feel spewed out. We are none-the-less delivered.
At the end of a week, we can feel more like Jonah after the belly incident. I pray that you are delivered and that no matter how you feel about it, you know the one who gave you the strength.
Lord, we thank you for delivering from temptations and this world. We thank you for showing us all of you, the serious and the funny. Give us strength for the week to come, attend to us, Father.