How’s Your Cable Connection?

by Christine Sine

by June Friesen

Recently I have been spending time studying and reading about Jonah? This has also been
during the time that we have moved to a new residence. Sometimes it is interesting how
God times our life experiences with different passages of Scripture. And during this time
the book of Jonah was on the radar for my sermon series. Jonah was a prophet for God to
the people of Israel. We do not know much about the work he did before or after the book
of Jonah but there definitely is some lessons one can learn for our own lives even today. A
prophet is defined in the Oxford dictionary as:

‘a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God’.
We know that there were many prophets in the Old Testament who had messages to
deliver and work to do for the people of God. Some of them, Jonah was one, also were
asked to deliver messages to people around the Israelite nation. Many if not all of us have
heard the story of Jonah at least once in our lifetime. For some of us it may have had a
greater impact than for others. As I was reading and studying about Jonah the last couple
of weeks for some reason I thought of this phrase – ‘Jonah lost his cable connection’ – his
cable connection being his close relationship with God. Because of that lost connection he
ended up in the bottom of a sea – AND – it was in the belly of a large fish that he found the
cable/GPS connection once again.

Jonah 1 – 2

1-2  One day long ago, GOD’s Word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: “Up on your feet and
on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t
ignore it any longer.”
3  But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from GOD. He
went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare
and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish—as far away from GOD as he could
4-6  But GOD sent a huge storm at sea, the waves towering.
The ship was about to break into pieces. The sailors were terrified. They called out in
desperation to their gods. They threw everything they were carrying overboard to lighten
the ship. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship to take a nap. He was
sound asleep. The captain came to him and said, “What’s this? Sleeping! Get up! Pray to
your god! Maybe your god will see we’re in trouble and rescue us.”
7  Then the sailors said to one another, “Let’s get to the bottom of this. Let’s draw straws to
identify the culprit on this ship who’s responsible for this disaster.”
So they drew straws. Jonah got the short straw.
8  Then they grilled him: “Confess. Why this disaster? What is your work? Where do you
come from? What country? What family?”
9  He told them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship GOD, the God of heaven who made sea and
10  At that, the men were frightened, really frightened, and said, “What on earth have you
done!” As Jonah talked, the sailors realized that he was running away from GOD.
11  They said to him, “What are we going to do with you—to get rid of this storm?” By this
time the sea was wild, totally out of control.
12  Jonah said, “Throw me overboard, into the sea. Then the storm will stop. It’s all my
fault. I’m the cause of the storm. Get rid of me and you’ll get rid of the storm.”
13  But no. The men tried rowing back to shore. They made no headway. The storm only got
worse and worse, wild and raging.
14  Then they prayed to GOD, “O GOD! Don’t let us drown because of this man’s life, and
don’t blame us for his death. You are GOD. Do what you think is best.”
15  They took Jonah and threw him overboard. Immediately the sea was quieted down.
16  The sailors were impressed, no longer terrified by the sea, but in awe of GOD. They
worshiped GOD, offered a sacrifice, and made vows.
17  Then GOD assigned a huge fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the fish’s belly three days
and nights.
Then Jonah prayed to his God from the belly of the fish.
He prayed:
“In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to GOD.
He answered me.
From the belly of the grave I cried, ‘Help!’
You heard my cry.
You threw me into ocean’s depths, into a watery grave,
With ocean waves, ocean breakers crashing over me.
I said, ‘I’ve been thrown away, thrown out, out of your sight.
I’ll never again lay eyes on your Holy Temple.’

Ocean gripped me by the throat. The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight.
My head was all tangled in seaweed at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take
root. I was as far down as a body can go, and the gates were slamming shut behind me

Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive, O GOD, my God!
When my life was slipping away, I remembered GOD,
And my prayer got through to you, made it all the way to your Holy Temple.
Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love.
But I’m worshiping you, GOD, calling out in thanksgiving!
And I’ll do what I promised I’d do!
Salvation belongs to GOD!”
10  Then GOD spoke to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore.

I know that was a large portion of Scripture however it tells the story so perfectly. We see
in the beginning verses that Jonah just cut off communication with God. Then he made a
run for it. He did not even want to be in the land where he knew God was in charge for the
most part. He would go to a foreign country and no one would ever know what happened
to him. When the storm came at sea he figured out that it was his fault and admitted it to
the sailors. However, he in no way acknowledged that God really had anything to do with
the storm to the sailors. When he drew the short straw he did not want to deal with it –
well he did not want to deal with God. It would be better to just end his life – be thrown
overboard and die – ….. But just like God is known to do He got that GPS system up and
working even in the bottom of the ocean as well as in the belly of a big fish. WHOA! And
not only that, Jonah got the message from God loud and clear the second time – loud and
clear enough that this time he got up and went as soon as he was on dry land again.

Jonah’s GPS system was up and functioning now.
How is it with you and I and our connection with God?
Maybe the words from Psalm 40 will resonate with you.

Psalm 40:3-5

40  1-3  I waited and waited and waited for GOD.
At last he looked; finally he listened.

He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to GOD.

4-5  Blessed are you who give yourselves over to GOD, turn your backs on the world’s “sure
thing,” ignore what the world worships;

The world’s a huge stockpile of GOD-wonders and God-thoughts.
Nothing and no one compares to you!
I start talking about you, telling what I know, and quickly run out of words.
Neither numbers nor words account for you.

Sometimes in our lives these words can be exactly what we feel. We feel as if God has been
ignoring us, not listening to the prayers we are praying, not providing for us as we think
He should, etc. There have been times in my life when I have indeed felt as if the words
that I was praying were indeed just words and nothing more. At times I have felt as if I
was the only one hearing the words I was praying – or if there were people around –
maybe they were hearing them but there sure were no answers coming to my prayer(s).
For some reason it just seems as if one’s connection with God is failing. Have you ever had
a time that you are waiting for something or for someone to arrive only to find out that the
message you may have sent was either not sent and/or not received. I have had that
happen – for some reason I forgot to push the send button or put a stamp on a letter –
sometimes I think I also pray for something and give little thought to what God may think
about the prayer. I have even heard and probably have done it myself – demand that God
do something.

And then there are other times when we feel God’s presence around us as we are praying –
we feel Him at work within us as we are praying – we may even see Him working around
us even in the midst of our praying. Can I explain or give a reason for any one of the
situations? Very likely not – or at least not until later.

Lord: please help me keep the cable connection with You plugged in. Help me to
remember to inspect it from time to time to make sure You and I have clear
communication. Help me hear when You call to me – but not only hear but respond by
listening and being willing to answer You. Help me to also carry any messages You may
give me for others so they will not miss out on Your call to them. Thank You God for the
opportunity to receive calls from You but even more thank You for also answering any
time and every time that I or anyone else calls You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Photos property of June Friesen. The last photo was taken by my mother.
Scripture from The Message translation.

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