The Lord Provided

But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. – Jonah 1:17
God’s provision is a major theme in the book of Jonah. Yet the things God provides are not always what one might expect. Jonah is thrown overboard into the raging sea, and God provides for him. God’s provision, however, is not a floatation device or a coast guard boat or even a bit of driftwood for him to hold on to. Instead, a giant sea creature bursts out of the water, opens its gaping maw, swallows up the hapless prophet, and descends into the deep.
Jonah is out of the proverbial frying pan and into the fire. The Hebrew word is probably best translated “sea creature” and could be a fish or a whale or some other species altogether. The fish event occupies only three of the forty-eight verses in the Book of Jonah. Obviously, the author did not see this as the main emphasis of his book. G. Campbell Morgan observed that “men have been looking so hard at the great fish that they have failed to see the great God.”
Imagine being Jonah. Saved from the raging waters, but now hundreds of feet under the water inside a sea creature. God’s provision doesn’t always look like what we want it to. Think of your life. Maybe a time something didn’t go your way, but now you’re thankful you were spared from getting what you thought you wanted? I think of a position I interviewed for at a church many years ago that I didn’t get, only to find out that particular church wasn’t a healthy place to be. God provided that “no” vote for my protection.
Are you living in the belly of a fish right now, wondering why God would allow you to go through this stinking, awful mess? Perhaps he’s sparing you or preparing you: Sparing you from something worse, or preparing you for something better.