“Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17 (NIV)
Last night I had the pleasure of gathering with a band of brothers for a time of fellowship, fun, and faith conversation. While there I was asked about my process to ministry and one of the words that came to mind was preservation. The word preservation is defined as the activity or process of keeping something valued alive, intact, or free from damage or decay.
In our verse for today the Prophet Jonah has been swallowed up by a huge fish and remains there for three days and nights. Jonah has been swallowed up because God gave Jonah instructions to go to Nineveh and preach against it, but Jonah declined and fled to Tarshish. Journeying on the boat they experienced a great storm, and those on the boat realized it was Jonah’s fault they were in the storm. Those on the boat decided to throw Jonah overboard and as a result he was swallowed up. My wrestle with this passage is that I read swallow but not killed, there’s a level of preservation here. Typically, when you swallow something, it’s taken through the mouth and esophagus into the stomach then begins to break down. Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and nights, why was Jonah not properly digested and broken down into small particles? This defiant Prophet experienced preservation. God ultimately knew that Jonah would surrender and cry out, so God didn’t allow him to write his fate by dying in the belly of the fish.
What has God preserved you from? How is God preserving you now? I realize that when God was calling me, I had a Jonah moment because I felt like my present predicament was the best, only to realize it was nowhere close to my best. The Lord’s preservation plan is one of the best protection plans. We have been kept alive, intact, free from decay because we have value. Every now and again you should count how many times God has preserved you amidst your disobedience and I promise gratitude will begin to stir up. These words by Kurt Carr sums it up for me:
So I'm here today because God kept me
I'm alive today only because of His grace
Oh, He kept me, God kept me, He kept me
So I wouldn't let go.
Leave a comment today, I'd love to learn how God has preserved you.