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Coming Through Our Jonah Days

For those of us who are old enough, you may recall John Denver’s ballad from 1986, ‘Some Days are Diamonds’. The words keep circulating in my head, ‘some days are diamonds, some days are stone, some times the hard times won’t leave me alone.’ We’ve all had those days, some more than others. And those days weigh heavy upon us, like a burdonsome sack of rocks that seems to suffocate and drain the life from us. Those days are hard, like stone. Unlike diamonds, there is nothing appealing or attractive about them. They leave us weary and anxiously anticipating time to fly so that we can retire and begin again, hopefully in a better place tomorrow.

Let’s think about the reluctant prophet, Jonah. Now he was not having a good day. In the early hours of the morning, he had been summoned by the LORD to go to Ninevah and proclaim a message to the townsfolk there. And not a message that would make him particularly popular. So, Jonah did his best to forget God and flees away on a ship going to Tarshish. By mid-morning things were not going well. God sent a great wind upon the sea and a mighty storm arose threatening to break apart the ship Jonah was seeking refuge on. Jonah tried to sleep away his guilt and self-denial but was found out by his fellow travelers. Before he knew it, Jonah was hurled into the stormy seas at the expense of preserving the vessel and the crew’s lives. But Jonah’s day was not about to improve. Just when he thought things could not get any harder, God sent a huge fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah spent not one day, but three long stench filled days and nights in its belly. Definitely not diamond days.

Jonah 2:5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

Jonah was at death’s door. His slow, silent descent through the depths, like a journey to the dark underworld, brought him to ‘the gates of death’. And yet in the muck of this darkness and despondency where all seemed lost, there was hope for Jonah.

Jonah 2:6-7 Yet has thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

Despite the hopelessness of the situation, the repentant prophet is rescued from the realm of the dead and restored to communion with God. Jonah’s circumstances begin to change when in faith, he remembers the LORD. Jonah is delivered from the belly of the fish, perhaps personified as the belly of Shaol itself, as he recollects the LORD and calls out to Him in repentant prayer. There is hope in abundance and deliverance for each of us from our days of stone, as we emulate the cry of Jonah.

Lamentations 3:21-22 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

What do we recall to mind? On our days of stone, we remind ourselves of the LORD’S mercies and his compassion. We are not consumed, and we will not be consumed by our Jonah days because He is always merciful and compassionate to His children. And it is this reality that brings us hope, moving us away from hopelessness.

Lamentations 3:23 They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.

Every morning there is the promise of God’s faithfulness shining favorably upon us. We have not been rejected by God. In our difficult days we are not forgotten. We can be confident and rest secure, remembering His devotion and loving kindness towards us in the past, in the present and that it is His steadfast love that will carry us, even on the days of stone, in the future. Recalling this to mind will carry us through our Jonah days.

Mornings are a beautiful time of the day. They offer a newness and anticipation of something unexpected. After experiencing a few days of stone, a day of diamonds dawned as I sat quietly enjoying the LORD’s presence.

The words of Lamentations 3:21-24 warmed my heart and stirred up the embers of hope and renewal. The LORD has remembered my affliction, helped to carry my burden and by His abounding grace, brought me through to the other side. Will Jonah days come again? Definitely. But each time they arise, my mind will quickly remember. His love. His faithfulness. His mercy. And because he is my portion, therefore I will hope in Him again.

Lamentations 3:24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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One comment

  1. God’s faithfulness and mercy endureth forever!
    Thank you Jennifer for reminding us of Jonah, a good lesson for all of us to review and take with us in our hearts as we serve a God so faithful!
    God Bless~

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