4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”
7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
It sometimes takes a storm to make us sit up and pay attention. We often find ourselves turning to God far more quickly in times of anguish and suffering than when we are content. CS Lewis knew this principle well when he said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
The turbulence of the seas threatened to destroy Jonah’s ship, and each man cried out to his own god for protection. But they found no refuge when they turned to false gods and so asked Jonah: “Who is responsible for all this?” (v7). Jonah was a flawed man and a runaway prophet, but ultimately he recognised that his life was in the hands of the Creator of the wind and the waves (v9).
Where do you cry out in times of trouble? Do you put your trust in the false ‘idols’ of your career, financial security or relationships, thinking they will offer protection and strength? Or like Jonah, even though he was imperfect, can you worship the God of heaven, the one who is powerful and sovereign over all created things?
Lord, please help me to rely on you when I face the storms of life. I cannot protect myself by any other means, and I will not find refuge in success, relationships, or financial security. Help me to worship you, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, because I know you love me and care for me. Amen.