I pulled out my phone the other day to make call. I had a question and needed an answer pretty quick. It rang and rang but no one answered. I thought it odd so I hung up and tried back. It rang and rang. No one answered. No voice mail picked up. Nothing but an incessant ringing.
Was something wrong?
Were they injured?
Were the phone lines down?
Did I call the right number?
Had I done something wrong and they were refusing to answer?
It turned out to be nothing. But when I needed an answer I felt all alone. Anxiety for their well-being and stress over my problem both rose quickly.
Has that ever happened to you with God? Have you ever felt like God was not listening? Have you ever felt God did not care? There are cherished moments when I felt such a strong bond with God. There are also those moments when I felt like I had lost connection. Why is that? For me, the seasons of dissonance are a result of personal sin. I feel distant, lonely, anxious, and scared. A person really appreciates what they have usually only when they lose it. The closeness of God, the joy of His presence, the peace that passes understanding are all easily taken for granted.
9 but as for me, I will sacrifice to You with a voice of thanksgiving. Jonah 2
Jonah had walked away from God. He literally went in the opposite direction! He found himself in a big mess. In the middle he made that statement above. He was going to worship with thanksgiving even though his present circumstance were horrible. Thanksgiving? How could he give thanks? He would because he realized that he could be dead. Things could get worse. He thanked God. He realized that the mess he sat in was his own just like our is. Paul wrote,
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 3:6
We have become awesome at taking needs to God! We can throw up our prayer list, post it on Facebook, or Tweet it so all can know our problems. We often engage in spiritual manipulation telling others they must pass it on for a blessing. The reality is that my problems are my problems and not yours. While Christian brotherhood would demand that we bear one another’s burdens, in the end they are still my problems. Jonah had his. I have mine. You have yours.
The real question is what are you going to do about them?
Jonah cried out to God in worship with thanksgiving. I tend to whine. You? Paul tells us to take our anxieties to God with thanksgiving. I tend to stress out, take it out on others, and attempt to work it out on my own. You? Your situation, like mine, must be owned. You must come before God and own up for whatever your part was. Accept the situation as it is and worship God with thanksgiving. Then you may claim the second half of Paul’s statement: and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind.
Own Up. Grow Up. Send Up. Watch the blessings come down. Gotta go…phone’s ringing!