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Fish and Storms

Shane Willard

Page 8 of 10
Sometimes storms are the very thing that save us. Perhaps the lesson is not: God, get me out of something; it's: God, thanks for saving me from me. It's: God, thank You for going through this with me. How many of you have said: Lord, save me from losing my job. I don't want to lose my job! Actually losing your job could be the best thing for you. What if losing your job is what propels you to start your own business, and you end up doing well, that you would have never had the guts to do yourself? You know why I'm here today? I'm here today because I lost my job! Actually I was in a very unfortunate situation, where a church hired me and then couldn't pay me; which is really unfortunate, because they offered me quite a good salary, and then I went to pick up my pay cheque and... ah we don't have it; to which I said: do you have some of it? Nope, we were just believing God brother. I'm going: well that's nice. Does your belief have food attached to it?

They were not bad people. It was just an unfortunate thing, and it put me into a very unexpected crisis - no job, $1,600 in the bank. The place that I had left had already replaced me; and I'm driving back across the country, not knowing what in the world was coming next. I got six hours down the road. You know how far it is to drive across America? Very far! Had a lot of time to think. I got six hours out of California, and my phone rang, and it was Clark Taylor. I hadn't talked to Clark in, I don't know, five years. He says: is this Shane Willard? I said: yes. He said: Shane, this is Clark Taylor. I said: hey Clark. He said: listen, about three weeks ago, God started dealing with me about having you come and be the keynote speaker at my pastor's conference, and I'm sorry it's taken me a little time to get to you. I just wanted to see if you were free, to which I said: yes, I'm quite free!

He said: it's my first pastor's conference, I don't know what the turnout's going to be, so you're going to have to pay your own way here, and we're going to believe God; and I'm like: that'd be fantastic! I had $1,600 in the bank, the plane ticket was $1,580. We put that in there, flew across the sea with $20; and there were 70 pastors there, and they all but one booked, and here we are. So I tell that story to say: what I thought was a disaster, was actually God saving me from something. It was actually God providing!

So the prayer: God, save me from losing my job! Well okay, I'll go there with you; but maybe losing your job might be the best thing for you. Save me from this family crisis. Maybe the family crisis has saved you? Save me from this divorce - well maybe it saved you. Lord, save me from this idea of moving away from my home town. Umm, maybe actually it saved you.

See storms and fish are a lot like fleeing from the presence of the Lord. Jonah was trying to get away from the presence of God, yet the whole rest of the book is about Jonah and God - so did Jonah succeed? Listen to Verse 3: You hurled me into the deep. YOU hurled me into the deep. Hang on, think about the story. Who hurled Jonah into the sea? The sailors. Jonah has clarity in the belly of the fish. He says: no, no, no, it wasn't the sailors that did it, YOU did it. Jonah sees clearly in the middle of a storm, in the middle of a fish, sometimes that's when you see things the most clear; which leads me to this question. When did Jonah actually repent of where he was going? Like was it in mid-air over the side of the boat? Was it when he actually hit the water? Was it going down the gullet of the fish? The answer is: I don't know; but you do know this: it was way before three days. Jonah changed his tune way before three days. God is generous with His grace, but He's thorough with His discipline. You start looking at the discipline of God - wander for 40 years in the wilderness. At what point in that 40 years do you think they said: we got it Lord, can we go back now?