“I called to the Lord in my distress, and he answered me. I cried out for help from deep inside Sheol; you heard my voice.” Jonah 2:2 CSB
My family’s self-quarantine began on Monday, March 16. The worry about what was happening in the world hadn’t really sunk in yet. But by Tuesday, I began to pray a bit anxiously and uneasily about the looming pandemic. With so many unknowns for the future, I prayed for His protection and mercy for as many people as possible from the invading virus, and I asked for His peace in the meantime since I didn’t know what His plan was in all of this. In my regular personal quiet time that day, I read the next chapter of a study on the minor prophets of the Old Testament that I’ve been working through for some time. It seemed an appropriate place to be in the Bible since I thought a virus of this scale looks an awful lot like some of the consequences that God had imposed on people of those times whenever he needed to get their attention. Anyway, I happened to read Jonah 2 that night. I recognized quickly that this chapter was a direct response from God to my prayer. At this point in Jonah’s story, he has already disobeyed God and as a result, is sitting in the belly of a big fish. I think Jonah is rather relatable right now. He found himself isolated (sound familiar?) in a situation where he had no idea what was going to happen. Would he lose his life before help came? How long would he be stuck there with no light, no one to hang out with, nothing to do but pray to the God that he had tried to run from? This chapter is a prayer that he prays to God. What struck me about it is that his entire prayer is in the past tense. He recounts what led to his present situation, describes what he is currently going through, and then recognizes that God will save him even though he’s still in the belly of the fish! Jonah says, “I sank to the foundations of the mountains, the earth’s gates shut behind me forever! Then you raised my life from the Pit, Lord my God! As my life was fading away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, to your holy temple.” (Jonah 2:6 CSB) Did you catch that? Jonah praises God for saving him even though he hadn’t been saved yet! I knew in that moment that God was telling me to thank Him right now for what he is doing during these weird and crazy times before I even know what He’s going to do!
From that moment on, my prayers have shifted from coming out of a perspective of anxiety and worry to one of thankfulness for what God is doing during this time, whatever it is. I began to see this theme of being thankful to God coming from other areas of my life. That was also the time that the worship team began to introduce the song “I’ll Give Thanks” by Housefires. It blew my mind that a new song for us fit so perfectly with what I believed I was hearing from God. Talk about validation! The second verse of the song says, “In the silence, I choose to believe you’re working in the waiting. Though the future isn’t clear to me I trust you anyway.” One thing we all have in common right now is that the future certainly isn’t clear to any of us. I for one choose to believe that God has an amazing plan. I can’t wait to find out what it is one day. We also sing in the chorus of this song, “So I’ll give thanks to God when I don’t have enough because he’s more than enough and he knows what I need.” Thank you, God, that you are more than enough for us right now and that you know everything that I need. Will you believe this with me? Will you join me in giving thanks to him through these weird and crazy times?
“God’s not worried. So why do I worry? God knows what I need.”
Written by Mindy Carvalho,
Worship team volunteer
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