By Frank Eiklor
"When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple."
Liberal and lost theologians have long labeled the story of Jonah as symbolic or figurative. However, Jesus the Messiah attested to the literal Jonah by comparing Jonah's being swallowed by the great fish with our Savior's literal death, burial and subsequent resurrection. The reluctant "prophet of flight" leaves us a great warning and lesson. Never - ever - run from God's orders and will once He has made Himself clear to you. It's much easier to pay any price for going in the Father's direction than to run the other way like Jonah who was called east to preach in Nineveh and sailed west to outrun God - Imagine! The Lord who loves us is not in the habit of swallowing our excuses; rather He knows how to allow us to be swallowed up in a whale of a lot of trouble until, like Jonah, we come to our spiritual senses.
But, trust me, today's scripture in not only for those who run in flight from God's will in order to do their own, but also to us who have entered the good fight for the Lord. There will be many battles, terrible tests and excruciating temptations that appeal to self. You may be there right now! Perhaps depression and discouragement threaten to drown you. Remember Jonah! He could have given up, but then the fish would have never vomited up. He could have been food for the great fish or God's fisher of men to provide food for the lost of Nineveh.
What did he do when his very soul was fainting? "I remembered the Lord" are more than four nice words. They are the door to your deliverance from the greatest attacks you will ever face. Remember that you are not locked in the deep - alone. Jesus is there with you - waiting for you to acknowledge His presence and to cry out to Him in prayer. Jonah thought he was at the bottom of the ocean. But God already had the fish within range of the safe shore. All He had to hear was Jonah's declaration of faith and trust: "Salvation is of the Lord" (2:9) and out came Jonah - wiser for the wear. So shall it be with you!
"May I never say 'no' to You, dear Lord, when You ask me to do anything. But when warfare is most intense and my despair at its greatest, make me remember Your nearness and pray - rather than give up and run away."