Orientation. Disorientation. Reorientation – Walter Brueggemann’s apt description for a life of faith, a life glorifying God, the Father. And this is what the reading from Jonah had me thinking about this morning. Jonah was with God, then intentionally separates from God, then God puts him in the belly of a fish to reorient him, where he cries out to God. Here is Jonah’s prayer from the belly of the fish:
‘I called to the Lord out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
3 You cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.
4 Then I said, “I am driven away
from your sight;
how* shall I look again
upon your holy temple?”
5 The waters closed in over me;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped around my head
6 at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me for ever;
yet you brought up my life from the Pit,
O Lord my God.
7 As my life was ebbing away,
I remembered the Lord;
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
8 Those who worship vain idols
forsake their true loyalty.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord!’
After just completing the lectionary readings, I had moved to the local newspaper where I read the front page story of the spectacular-to-see capsizing of a sail boat. Not any sail boat – but an America Cup contender, the $8 million dollar towering Oracle catamaran designed to “fly on water.” As I read the story of the crash and learned of the unique conditions that prevented the flipped boat from going anywhere but out to sea on a current no human effort could stop I heard the catamaran itself crying out as Jonah did, “You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me.” The crew and the rescuers had to let it go where the current would take it, and from there it would be recovered and the rebuilding would begin.
This happens to Jonah – to all us, no? We are trashed, crashed, broken – and not just once – and the path God puts us on – the current – will sweep us away until it stops where He ordains, and then we are recovered and the rebuilding begins again.
As a crew member of the catamaran says, “My coaches always say you learn a lot more from your losses than you do from your victories, and I think we learned some things today.”
Indeed. My Coach says the same thing about life with Him.
Orientation (we are one with God), Disorientation (we are separated from God), Reorientation (we are anew with God). The process repeats itself over and over.