Jonah 2:3 “You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
Have you ever been punished for something, and you knew you deserved the punishment?
Yeah, me too. And it’s not fun.
Yet, when I think back to the times, growing up, that my parents punished me, I know they didn’t enjoy the punishment. They didn’t punish me because they wanted to. They did it because they loved me, and they wanted something better for me than I had chosen for myself.
Friends, God loves us, just as He loved Jonah. He wants the very best for us, and His best includes submission and obedience to His Word. Jonah rebelled against God, and God called him on it.
Throughout scripture, we are reminded that God disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:5 – 6, Revelation 3:19, Proverbs 3:11 – 12). If He didn’t love us, He’d let us do whatever we wanted. He wouldn’t care. But God did care about Jonah. He had a good plan for Jonah’s life, and Jonah wasn’t following that plan. So God said, “Son, I love you too much to let you live in selfishness and rebellion. That won’t bring you the happiness and joy and peace you desire.”
And splash! Jonah was sent into the deep waters.
But while God’s discipline may seem harsh, He still takes care of us. He sent that giant fish along at just the right moment to swallow Jonah up. That in itself may have seemed like a punishment. But it was really God’s provision for a son that He loved. He made sure he was safe.
Sometimes, when we feel the splash of the icy cold water, when we find ourselves in the smelly, slimy, cold bowels of a nasty old fish, we need to open our eyes and hearts. We need to smile, knowing that our Father loves us – for He disciplines those He loves. He’s not being mean. He’s treating us like a Father treats His child – the child He adores, the child for which He wants nothing less than the very best.
Dear Father, Help me to obey You the first time, so I can avoid Your discipline. When I find myself being punished for something I’ve done, help me to recognize and remember that You discipline me because You love me. Help me to learn the lessons I need to learn, and not to repeat my mistakes. Thank You for loving me.