“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me! You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves…I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. …But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord.”—Jonah 2:1-7
When you’re in hell, it’s time to pray—especially the kind of hell into which Jonah fell.
Jonah was a stubborn man. Look what it took for him to bend his pride and cry out to the Lord. Thrown into a raging sea, swallowed, and churned about inside the hot, burning insides of a sea creature, he felt like he had landed in hell. “Out of the belly of hell I cried,” he said (KJV).
When your life feels like you’re in hell, don’t be afraid to pray. Don’t think you are too far gone, too far away, too miserable, too sinful…too anything to cry out to the Lord. It is from this very dark and desperate place that our prayers take on real meaning, becoming more passionate and sincere.
Don’t be like Jonah and wait to reach such extreme depths. Read the verses above carefully. He had run so hard away from God, trying to avoid facing Him, that even in the midst of such horrible conditions, he held back.
Finally, he said, “When my life was slipping away, I remembered God.”
God answered Jonah, just as He will answer you.
God pursues us because He loves us, even when we choose to go our own foolish ways.
“Let not a repentant sinner imagine that he is remote from the estate of the righteous because of the sins and misdeeds he has done. This is not true, for he is beloved and precious to God as if he never sinned.” —Malmonides, Mishneh Torah, 1170 A.D.