When I think of the word provision, I think of “good” things- God providing food for the hungry, a job for the poor, or a house for the homeless. My vision of provision naturally gravitates toward that which makes people more comfortable and happy. While reading through Jonah, God brought my attention to a particular verse: “But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.” God provided a fish to eat Jonah?! This is God’s version of provision?
First, I want to address the issue of this being a figurative story because “a fish swallowing Jonah without killing him is not logical”. With all due respect, since when is ANYTHING God did or does considered logical from the world’s eyes? God made fish, God made man, and I believe He can do anything He so desires. After all, which is less logical: a man being swallowed by a fish and living, or a perfect, omnipotent God sending His perfect Son to die for a bunch of imperfect, ungrateful sinners?
Back to provision. I believe this story is there to remind us of many things, but I want to focus on provison because I know how much I tend to doubt what God is doing (or often, how He is doing something I have prayed for Him to do!) I pray for patience, and then get ticked off when I’m stuck in traffic on the way home. I pray for the ability to love my co-workers more, and then become confused when it seems like that day they are more difficult to get along with than ever. I may cry out to God for particulars, but I often lack the trust that comes with asking for His provision instead of my own wants and desires. I can imagine that Jonah was pretty bewildered whenever God’s provision included three days secluded inside of a fish. He surely must’ve been thinking, “Wait a second, I just admitted that I was in the wrong here, and you proceeded to reward my honesty with THIS?!” But God knew. He knew that the only way Jonah was going to truly cry out to Him was through this bizarre circumstance. He loved Jonah so much that He was willing to provide him with whatever it took to bring Jonah back to God’s heart. And, the incredible part is, He loves you and me the same.
So, what is your big fish today? The thing that you have been doubting God about; the situation that seems like abandonment from God rather than provision. Let’s thank Him for those things today, knowing and trusting that God’s best for us often doesn’t line up with what we would have chosen; but it always turns out for our good and His glory. He truly has you in the palm of His hand, big fish and all.

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