Every storm has a turning point, whether it occurs in nature or in our lives.
When my younger sister was rushed to the hospital and into an iron lung, the doctor gravely told our parents she might not live 36 hours. As the deadline neared, our parents sat anxiously next to the machine, and saw my sister blink one eye for the first time in days. It was the turning point. She lived, and has for decades now.
Jonah and the ship’s crew reach their turning point. Neither Jonah nor the sailors act as we might expect. Jonah, who is running from God, tells them to pick him up and throw him overboard. The “pagan” sailors are reluctant to harm Jonah. Instead, they rowed hard (v. 13) to save him. Clearly, there’s more here than meets the eye; there is some mysterious connection between Jonah and the storm. The captain asks Jonah to call upon his god, hoping no one will perish (v. 6), but the resistant prophet doesn’t. Instead, the outsiders do. The “God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (v. 9) is also working below the water line to carry out a rescue mission.
We find steps in this story to help us get to, and through, our storms’ turning point. (1) Know “there is more here than meets the eye;” (2) Rely on actions we’ve previously used; (3) Employ unfamiliar actions; (4) Ask questions, investigate, and explore; (5) Pray for God’s guidance; (6) Commit ourselves to God although we may not see clearly.
When the storms of life are raging, the Lord who made the sea and the dry land will be with us in the depths and bring us safely through.
Recall a storm you have experienced. With a note pad, sketch out the experience. Identify the moment you knew you had reached the turning point. What steps did you take to pass safely through the storm?
God, I’m not strong enough to handle the troubled waters I see. Use persons and circumstances, and work within me, to bring me safely through. Amen.