So you really think that you are so far down, that THANKSGIVING seems impossible? Well, before you drown yourself in the dismal doom of your depravity, let me tell you about a brother in the Lord, that maybe had it a touch worse than you.
He was an incredible evangelist that God put a lot of stock in. He had told God that he would do anything, so God put him to the test. God asked him to go and preach in a very hostile environment where wickedness was rampant. This scared my brother so bad, and sadly he refused to go. From that day forward he faced the downward spiral of deterioration. The calm that he was used to feeling, turned into a storm that rocked his world, and the boat that he was escaping on. In fact, things got so bad, he asked people to help him die. He had gone so far overboard in his faith, that now he felt going overboard was his fate. Sadly, his disobedience didn’t only affect him, it affected everyone around him. He literally had placed the lives of innocent people on the line and death was certain to not just him, but to all that he rubbed shoulders with. Literally, as a last resort, the people on the ship threw him overboard. Death was seemingly certain, but what’s sadder than death, is the way he was drowning not just in water, but in the waste of the giftings and talents he had been endowed with.
But then as his life flashed before his eyes, so did a huge fish. Amazingly, a fragmented man that was far from being whole, was swallowed whole. I think you know by now, that my brother in the Lord is an acquaintance of yours too. His familiar name is Jonah.
Jonah was now in the belly of a whale, but to hear him tell it, it was the belly of hell. (Jonah 2:2) He was literally as far down as a man could go. He had fulfilled what the Psalmist said in Psalm 139:7,8. Where shall I go from your spirit and where shall I flee from your presence?… If I make my bed in hell, you are there. And was God ever there!
With weeds wrapped around his head, he began to wrap God around his heart again. In the middle of misery he was in the middle of mercy! What a powerful prayer he prayed in the most unlikely place. But then, he stopped praying and started praising God. His exact words were, I will sacrifice unto you with the voice of THANKSGIVING. Immediately after this pledge of praise, the whale vomited Jonah up on dry ground. Jonah literally hit the ground running. This awful, awesome experience helped him to coin the phrase, “making up for lost time.”
He made a three day journey in one day, and preached to the people that he had tried to escape from.
I have been down before, but probably not quite that far down. But, I have learned the verse that says, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I don’t know how far down you are today, but I do know that you are not too far down that God will not hear you. I would like to provoke you for just a moment to think about how good God has really been to you. I assure you, that when you start to think, you will start to thank. You too, in the middle of your misery, will find yourself in the middle of God’s mercy, and you will be able to say, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Pastor Tommy Galloway