Big Fish…Big Attitude – God Provides

17 Meanwhile, the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17, Common English Bible).

For Jonah and the boat crew, the storm raged around them. When you are in the wind, rain, and waves, in a small boat, fear can become a constant companion. The waves splash into the boat. When one wave crashes the wind blows another onto the boat and it starts over again as the rain pelts your face and drenches you from head to toe.

Such is what Jonah and the crew faced. And, Jonah knew what and where the problem was. He was the problem and it was all because of God’s anger because Jonah ran from the will of God. Jonah was responsible for the crew’s plight because of the decisions he made. But, that isn’t the point of this post.

Jonah tells the crew that he was the root of the problem and to calm the seas they needed to throw him over the side. The seas calmed and the crew was safe.

But, while the storm may have come to an end, Jonah was still in the midst of the storm. Now, far from shore and surrounded by water he is about to have an even bigger problem than he had while on the ship. Perhaps he was already having that problem. Maybe he was about to go down for the third time and his life was passing in front of his eyes.

The one thing he probably never thought would happen was, he became fish bait. No, he wasn’t shark bait, he was fish bait, divine fish bait. That was the bad news.

There was, however, some good news. Along with the storm God sent some grace and it came from an unexpected place. When Jonah had the crew throw him over the side (sorry, that is some of my Navy vernacular coming out) he probably never expected to survive. I don’t think he expected to be eaten by a huge fish (Yes fish, not a whale. I looked at every English version of the Bible on Bible Gateway and all but one used some kind of adjective for big and fish except the International Standard Version which said, huge sea creature. In fairness, the ancients would probably have seen a whale as a huge fish).

At least to my way of thinking, Jonah never saw the fish coming. He was swallowed up in a single bite and before he could figure out what was going on he was in the belly of the fish. How could he have seen it coming?

But, that is grace. When Jonah needed it most, God provided a life-raft, a living life-raft. Jonah, as he sits in the belly of the fish, probably wouldn’t have seen this as grace. Still, God provided a way when there was no other way.

That, at least to me, is grace. Even in the midst of the storm, God can provide a way.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved






Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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