Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me….O Lord my God. When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you….But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you;….. Salvation belongs to the Lord!
It is so easy to give thanks to God when He pours out all good things upon us, isn’t it? When life seems to be filled with blessing upon blessing, we raise our voice heavenward and proclaim God’s goodness and our gratitude.
But what about the times when the struggles of this world seem to be mounting up? When the blessings of God are but a memory? When His voice has grown silent and His presence at a distance? Do we give thanks then?
Seems an odd question and silly proposition. Give thanks when I’m not thankful for my situation. Who in the world would be thankful for being in the belly of fish? But that is exactly what Jonah did. He prayed with a thankful heart to His Lord even in the midst of uncertain times and near fatal circumstances. He understood the truth of what Paul would write many generations later, that with ‘thanksgiving’ we are to make our requests known to Him without anxiety (Phil. 4:6,7) What radical thinking!
What did Jonah have to be thankful for? The same things you and I have in the midst of the darkest night. God is powerful (Psa 68:28), He watches our very steps (Psa 139:3), He compassionately cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), and that He is continually in the process of conforming us to His son’s image which is for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28, 29). Even when our situation would seem to dictate our crying out in hopelessness or at least a pity party, it is then that God’s peace is promised to us as we cry out to him in honesty and thanksgiving.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, for His steadfast love and faithfulness!
Sola Deo Gloria