I am behind in my reading of my chronological Bible this year, and I have to admit that even thought I KNOW deep inside that God does not keep track of the “amount” of Scripture I read but rather how I apply what I do read to my life, I still feel guilty and desperately want to get back on track.
Election day has given me a “day off” from work, so I spent some time last night reading a few days in a row and I got up this morning and read a few more.
As I was reading, I was struck by these words from Jesus’ own mouth in Matthew 12:39,
“Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
I guess sometimes I struggle with the reality that when it came to Nick’s cancer, I begged for a miracle and I believed in the power of God to take away every cancer cell from Nick’s frail body but in the end, Nick was taken Home.
People will often come to me with praises and say things like, “Oh, let me tell you about our miracle,” or “We have been praying so hard for such and such, and guess what!?!? We got our miracle!!”
I smile, and honestly, I want to feel as happy as they are about their wonderful news, but sometimes my human mommy heart feels like it has been run through with a sharp knife.
So, when I sat and read this passage this morning, it actually made me feel better. I guess just knowing that Jesus was asking the people of His time NOT to demand miracles somehow told me two things. First, it told me that we are not that different than the people who walked this earth so many years ago. And second, it told me that what Jesus offered to them as a sign is the very same thing He offers to us.
A prophet from long ago who ran from God, was swallowed by a large fish, and then kept there for three days and three nights until God decided to release him right on the shore of the land to which he had been called to share a message from the Lord in the first place.
That’s our miraculous sign of Jesus’ authority.
Not the blind He gave sight.
Not the lame He made walk.
Not the dead He raised to life.
Just Jonah being spit out from the belly of a big fish.
Jesus basically said, “That’s all you need in order to believe in my power.”
And I’m claiming that kind of Jonah faith today.
When I stand before God, I don’t want to be held back by any sadness for losing Nick because I felt like it was not his time. Nick has been released from this world through the power of the resurrection just like Jonah was released from his captivity through the power of God’s voice.
I’m so thankful that God chose to share these words from Jesus in Matthew.
It’s easy to get hung up on praying for earthly miracles.
Of course, we want everyone healed, every relationship restored, every pain to be relieved, every discomfort to be comforted.
But in the end, Jesus says, “Just knowing the story of Jonah is enough.”
Read the book of Jonah when you can and believe wholeheartedly that no matter what this life hands you, there is a God above who sent His Son to earth because He loves us so much, and He allowed Jesus to remind us of His power by reflecting on the life of a simple prophet named Jonah.
Thankful today for this short verse and the story of Jonah,