- "Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Genesis 18:14
- “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17
- “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
I almost have to smile when I read the bookend verses that surround Jonah’s time in the belly of the fish. After the sailors threw Jonah into the sea, we read this fun verse, “Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17). After Jonah spent three days and nights entombed in this huge fish (praising and thanking God for rescuing him), God decided it was time to let him go. “Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.” (Jonah 2:10).
I just spent time on my knees praying and interceding for some people I dearly love. Many of them are dealing with issues I couldn’t imagine dealing with. Many others have not yet surrendered their lives to the Lord. I’ve been pleading and praying for years for some of these loved ones, but haven’t seen the answers fulfilled yet. Then I read verses like this and I’m struck by the fact that nothing, absolutely nothing is too hard for the Lord! If He can arrange for a fish to swallow Jonah (without actually eating and digesting him!), I do believe He can arrange to bring a spiritually lost child home, or provide a perfect solution to an impossible situation. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. He can and will use whatever means He deems necessary to fulfill His perfect will.
It often seems like God is too slow to act, but as we grow in our faith we come to realize that God’s timing is perfect. “Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah.” As Jonah was sinking into the heart of the sea—with seaweed wrapping around his head and his life slipping away (see 2:3-7), the Lord arranged for a great fish to swallow him. I’m sure Jonah thought his life was gone. If you read Jonah chapter two, you clearly hear his overwhelming thoughts as he sank down “to the very roots of the mountains.” I’m sure being swallowed—and saved—by a fish was NOT the ending Jonah envisioned as the waters engulfed him. He thought he was dead. And indeed, he was close to death. But God was not through with him yet. He still had a plan and purpose for Jonah’s life. So at the perfect time, God rescued him in a bizarre, but very effective way. Now God definitely had his attention. God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah and after the fish spit Jonah out onto the beach, Jonah went!
What are you struggling with today? Do you desperately love someone who is angry at God and is running the other way? Are you angry at God and disillusioned with the way your life is unfolding? Are you feeling overwhelmed by a situation that seems hopeless and out of control? If you are sinking in a sea of despair, I would encourage you to call out to God as Jonah did. He promises that “when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” (Is. 43:2). Dare to dump your burdens on Him—He’s big enough to handle them. He’s got this one. Then keep your eyes open for His answers. Just remember that His timing is often very different from our own, and that sometimes His answers come in totally unexpected ways. God's character is predictable, but His methods are not!
Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear. Isaiah 59:1