God’s good plans in our storms
Welcome to treasures in the storm. My name is Cindy schmidle er and today we’re gonna be talking in the book of Jonah and how God provides sometimes a course thing for us because he wants us on that right path. That precious path. The one that’s best for us. The one that will give us our heart’s desire, things that we don’t even know about. And so get your bible pen paper, sit down because God is going to be speaking to us today. So I’m very excited about what he has to say. I’m gonna pray for us and then we’re gonna dig into the book of Jonah. So get yourself over there now and here we go. So let me pray Father God today is your day Lord and it is no accident that my audience is exactly the one who you have prepared for this day for your a word, a special word from you to them Lord. And we wanna feeding father, will you give us a feeding as the daily prayer our father who art in heaven give us this day our daily bread and that’s what we want today. That feeding that will bring us the most help in our lives. The most hope in our lives. The most encouragement and Lord, the world has just taken us by tsunami so often and just the circumstances of our lives. And so we’re just asking you special today that you would come in and that you would speak to us in jesus name. So open your books to Jonah and I titled this Sometimes God provides a big fish and I I subtitle God’s good plans in the storms of our lives and you’ll see this unfold and Jonas life and we’ll be able to apply to our lives too. And I want to always begin with First Thessalonians 5 18, 1 of my life versus right, give thanks in all circumstances circle, that word all give thanks in all circumstances, not just the ones that are good are the ones that are pleasant, but all circumstances, even the hard ones give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in christ jesus. And so we want to put that on today. We want to remind ourselves that God is in the center of whatever is going on and he’s gonna show us this in the book of Jonah, my other favorite verses, proverbs 16 9 and so whatever you’re going through today, I want you to put that on. We make our plans, the scripture says, but God is the one who directs our steps. And we want him to be directing our steps. We don’t want to be on our own course. We want to be on his course, the most um pleasurable path in the end. So, I’m going to be reading from the scriptures today in Jonah And we’re gonna go through, we’re gonna talk about different things that Jonah is going through and how that really looks in our life. And so chapter one the word of the Lord came to Jonah go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it because its wickedness has come up before me. So this is the scene being laid out and then verse three. But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarsus. He went down to Joppa where he found a ship bound for that report. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarsus to flee. The bible says to flee from the Lord. And I think how often in my life when things get hard, I want to flee. But remember from our scriptures that the Lord has given us that he is right there and he’s got a plan and we just want to bow our heads. Lord help us to believe that you are with us, that you hold us in the palm of your hand and that you have a plan here because that’s the real truth. So four verse 4. Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea because he had a purpose for Jonah, just like you and I, we have a purpose that God has called us to. And that violent storm arose and the ship was threatened to break up and all the sailors were afraid each cried out to his own God. So they didn’t know many in that on that ship did not know the Lord God, but we know that Jonah did right, we know what’s going on with him. And so they start throwing the cargo over like they don’t know what to do to bring help to themselves and so they’re calling each on their own God. And we know because the scripture tells us that those gods cannot help him, jesus is the only god, the God, the Almighty is the only one that’s an alive god. And what Jonah does that scripture says is he goes below deck like again more fleeing to hide from the Lord as if when we’re in our storm and we want to run from God and do our own thing when sin has taken us over and we think the grass is greener if we give into those let’s call them lus of life. So we start doing the same thing, we start fleeing from the Lord and there’s no um benefit to us there we think because the world has told us and satan has told us and our flesh that worse against the spirit is telling us that that that’s gonna be the best way you’re going to be most happy if you’re there just like eve remember even the garden she was, she realized in her own mind that she would be most happy if she ate from the fruit. Well we know how that ends, don’t we? So Jonah goes down below and he goes it falls into a deep sleep. So he is really not participating in the circumstances of his life. So the sailors come up, they decided to cast lots because that’s what they did back then to find out whose God is causing this and Jonah, you know, he raises his hand, it’s me, it’s my God, my God is the Lord God Almighty, the creator of the seas in this world. He is the one that is doing this. And they’re like, what have you done that your God is doing this to you And he knows we are, we’ve been told right, he’s running from what God has called him to do and I don’t know about you. But sometimes in my heart I say to God, I will not do that thing because I feel like it will be bad for me or I don’t want to. And and in the end I’m lying to myself because doing what God has called me to do is going to bring the greatest happiness. Honestly, it’s the only way to get to the greatest happiness. and so in verse 10, as they find out that in verse nine, he says, Jonas says, I’m a hebrew and I worship the Lord God, the god of heaven who made the sea and the dry lamp. So that’s a big god. Compared to all these other gods right. And in verse 10, they this terrified all the other sailors and they asked what have you done right and he says and he’s already told them I’m running away from the Lord. And so the sea is God is upped the game, the seas getting rougher. So the circumstances are getting more difficult and Jonas says throw me overboard and if you throw me overboard the sea will come because this is all my fault. And so that’s his answer to this. And they’re like we’re not going to throw you overboard because that will kill you and we don’t want that blood on our hands. So even though they don’t know the Lord God, they understand his commandments, thou shall not kill right. Were given that everybody is given morals, whether you know jesus or not, you’re given morals and so they know this and it goes on to say um that they didn’t want to do that. They were afraid to do that. And so they asked the Lord in verse 14 this is the sailors. Then they cried out to the Lord please Lord do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man for you. Lord have done as you please. So now they realize that the God of heaven is doing this and so they’re getting a sense of who this God is, the Lord God almighty. And in verse 15 they took Jonah because they were at their wits end didn’t know what else to do and afraid for their life. So they took Jonah and they threw him overboard and guess what happened. The sea calmed completely calm at this. The men greatly feared the Lord and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and make vows to him. So in this situation we can see some of God’s purpose. One of the purposes is that these other sailors would come to know him as the one true God. And what a gracious thing for our God to bring himself to these people to say I’m the one who created. You don’t don’t be running after those false gods come to me and so he brings this horrific storm in their life so that they will come to him. And I think in my own life, God brought horrific storm in my life called cancer. And you will hear about that and one of my episodes that cancer actually brought me to the Lord. And so I’m so grateful. That’s why I call it a gift. I’m grateful. At some point. I’m hoping Jonah called this huge storm a gift for him. Why God’s purpose is always to bring us close to him. Why? Because he loves us. It’s not that he’s an angry mean God, he loves us so much. And so then here comes my favorite part and I want you to highlight this. This is Jonas prayer Verse 17. Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Okay I want you to circle that word, provided that word means prepared and appointed. So so provided prepared and appointed. It was God’s good gift to Jonah to put him in a the belly of a fish for three days. We almost have to sit down and take a breath over that because often would think what a good God would never put us in such peril would he? But he would if he wants to get our attention and he knows the only way the best way to get our attention and so I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that the word provided is in there. It’s appointed and prepared because sometimes God in my life will give me a big fish so that when I’m walking on that wrong path, the one that’s going to cause me much peril in my life, he gets me back on that that’s smooth and wonderful path of his. The one that’s best, the one appointed for me. So let’s see what happens to Jonah. While he’s in this fish, this reason that God provided this fish. So from inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord God in my distress. I called to the Lord now isn’t that true? Isn’t that what we do when we are in, we’ll go on our own path. Maybe our sin path and we’re living and we’re loving it because we like to um feed our flesh right? And we’re on the and Saints helping us do that. Oh this is the greatest thing. You’re gonna love this. This will be best for you. And we get down on that path and we’re so happy, aren’t we? And then the Lord provides that big fish. And and in that we cry out, what have I been doing? It’s like the Lord has taken us and shaking us and said, what are you doing? You’re on the wrong path. I need you to get on the right path, the path of greatest happiness and really greatest pleasure. And so while he was in that fish, he cried out to the Lord three days took three days. He cried out to the Lord and he turned his heart back to God and he said, God, I will do what you have asked me, Please save my life. And in verse seven, he says, Jonas says while he’s in the fish, While my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord isn’t that true? And my prayer rose to you to your holy temple. So he knows he knows who God is in his life. And then in verse eight, which is so fascinating, he says, those who cling to worthless idols, all the things that we want to put above God that we think will really make us mo most happy. The things that we think we can do this and God won’t care those things I’m talking about. He realized, he says those who cling to worthless idols. Turn away from the from God’s love for them. So he knows, even though he’s sitting in the belly of a fish, he knows that this is about God’s love, this is not about God’s wrath, this is about his love for Jonah. And and he knows that Jonah knows that I always tell people make it your goal in life to find out how much God loves you. Everything flows from that. Everything in your life will come from that. See him in your circumstances know that he’s doing the best for you in it. Even when it’s really, really hard, he’s not left you and Jonas says in verse nine, but I with shouts of grateful praise will sacrifice. So he’s completely turned around and what I have vowed, I will make good. He’s saying yes Lord, I will do what you have asked because you are God and you know what you’re doing and this is the best thing for all involved, not just me, but for all involved. And I wonder what things people could be missing out when I’m off doing my own thing when I want the wrong way or I said, it doesn’t really matter if I share jesus with this group of people. God will take care of it. Well, of course he’ll take care of it, but he chooses to use us and he has purpose in that. And then in verse 10 and the Lord commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. So once Jonah repented. So this is a great word for us. Once we repent God will provide us getting back onto the right path. The path of blessing and that word, blessing in the hebrew is oh how happy I will be. And so I want you to remember that when you’re on the wrong road. Oh how happy I will be when I get on the right road. I have a saying that I that I preach to myself for lack of a better word. And it’s simply this, it’s a little poem. There are two choices on the shelf. Please God or please self. You choose and when when you make it your goal to please God. The blessings will come. The fruit of that will come joy, peace, Happiness, Lightheartedness all comes from choosing God in your situation if you choose self, the the fruit of that comes misery. Um depression and not, I’m not saying all depression is because you’re in sin and going the wrong way. We know that there’s things called clinical depression which affects the brain. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about when we’re on the wrong road and we know it and we were feeling guilty. So all those negative feelings, feelings come from making those wrong choices. So keep that in your mind when you’re on that road where you know the spirit has told you this is not a good road for you. You get to remind yourself there are two choices on the shelf Cindy. I’m gonna either please God or please myself. Do I want happiness or do I want misery? It’s as simple as that. So then we go on in Chapter three. So now joan is out of the fish. He’s on dry ground, has made a commitment to the Lord to do what he said and so he does. He goes to nine nova, he proclaims the message God gave him and guess what happens. Everyone repents why? Because that was God’s plan all along and I love that. I love how God just when he, when he speaks, when he comes in through people, everyone is going to do and be right and go the right way because that was his plan. It was never um Jonas ability to make that happen, Jonah was just a container that God was using two bless in this case the ninja fights. And so they made a big fast the people of Ninevah and in 1st 10 when God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways which was his plan, he did not bring destruction on them that he had threatened threatened and then we go to chapter four which again, this is so much like us, especially me, but to Jonah, this seemed very wrong and he became angry and he prayed to the Lord, isn’t this what I said Lord when I was still at home, Is this what this is? That is what I try to forestall by fleeing the Tarshis. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love. A God who re lentz from sending calamity. Now listen to this now, Lord take away my life for it’s better for me to die than to live seriously. That’s how you ever get that way where you just explode and you do everything is a shock and awe because you’re so darn angry or worse, maybe you’re getting bitter. Maybe God has called you to forgive somebody deeply from your heart. The scripture says and you’re saying there is no way I will ever forgive that person. I know the feeling, I know what that’s like. But God wants us to have that freedom he wants, he will do what is necessary to get us to be light and free and close to him. Every time we say no, we’re moving ourselves farther and farther and farther away from the Lord. And we don’t want that. There’s no blessing there. There’s no protection there. We want to be close to the Lord. I think of a good friend of mine who was dying of cancer years ago and she would tell me a story that to help her to deal with the fear of dying. And I don’t know, maybe you’re sitting there and you have cancer today too and you have that great fear of dying. And what she would do is she would go and say, Lord, I want my nose to be pressed against your nose. I want my nose against your nose. That’s how close I want to be to you. And God is so right there. He can’t wait to do that for you. He can’t wait to help you and then to encourage you and to bless you and to give peace to you in this difficult thing that you’re going through. And I love that one. My friend would tell me that he didn’t take away what was going on in her life. He helped her to deal with it. And that’s what he says. He says you’re gonna have suffering in this world, but I’m gonna be right there with you and you? It won’t be too much for you because when you’re close to me, we can do this thing. And I love that about God. And so Jonah, he’s all upset now. He says, uh you know, you’re a god, that God who re lentz from sending calamity. It’s never God’s desire to send calamity. And he says, now Lord take my life for it’s better for me to die than to live. So he’s got a lot of shock and awe going on. And then verse four of chapter four is important. But the Lord replied, is it right for you to be angry. He’s making a point. I’m the God of the 100 billion Galaxies. I know what I’m doing. Bow your head and trust me in this and Jonah. For whatever reason the scriptures don’t tell us is angry at these people, isn’t he? He’s bitter and he’s angry and I wonder what group of people we are bitter and angry and the Lord’s coming, he wants to bring a big fish. He wants to provide a huge fish to come and swallow us so that we can get on the path of not not having those horrible um feelings of anger and misery over any group of people. And then verse five, Jonah goes out, he goes out of the city and he sits down and he makes himself a shelter to sit in its shade and wait to see what’s going to happen in the city. So he’s out there waiting. I’m just gonna watch and see what happens in the city. Then the Lord God circle This next word provided what’s provided appointed, right, appointed. And prepared the Lord God appointed and prepared a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort. You know, God is so gracious, isn’t he? And Jonah was very happy about the plant. Okay. But at dawn the next day, God circle the next word provided a worm which chewed that plant so that it withered and when the sun rose God provided circle that word, a scorching east wind. So he’s providing positive, negative, positive, negative isn’t he? And the sun blazed on Jonas head so that he grew faint, he wanted to die and said it would be better for me to die than to live. But God said to Jonah, is it right for you to be angry about the plant again? He’s reminding Jonah, I am the god of the 100 billion Galaxies. I’m the one who made every cell in your body. The one who your breath today is because of me In verse 10. But the Lord said you have been concerned about this plant though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. Okay, basically I’m the one who gives you your breath. I’m the one who gives you every single thing you have. And should I not have been concerned for the Great City of Ninevah in which there are more than 100 and 20,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left and so many animals it ends with. And so today friends, I want to say to you make yourself get on that road that God wants you to be on so that he doesn’t have to provide a big fish to eat you to get you there. And remember that big fish is a provision it’s appointed. It’s given to you. It is a good gift to you to help you to be on the right path. And I want to pray for us as we’re thinking about this. Yeah, uh I think for me that one of the biggest things is when I have felt hurt when somebody has hurt me and usually it’s the people that are closest to you are the ones that can hurt you. The most Uh is when I want to run and I don’t want to do, I don’t want to do forgiveness because Jesus says you know, we’re to practice forgiveness, 24\/7, it needs to be in our heart all the time and so for me, um I have to keep that position in my heart no matter what’s going on around me. Why? Because I want to be this close to jesus knows like my friend and when the storms of life come, I want to be so prepared and light and free because my God is taking care of me and I can feel it. Why? Because I’ve removed those obstacles that keep me from not feeling it. Let me pray for us. So Lord God, I pray for my audience today. Lord, I pray for those who are struggling with difficult things. Lord, I pray God that you would wrap your arms around them, hold them I I picture them being held in your fatherly arms right now, help them God to get on the right path. Will you make them get on the right path because it’s the path of blessing and we want that blessing in our life. And so we’re asking you Lord please help us in these situations. Lord help bring people around it. They need people to help them, bring those people around Lord God please. And we’re gonna trust you. Trust you. Trust you for this in jesus name. Thank you audience. Hello, My name is Cindy schmidle er and I have something very special that I want to share with you today. This is a book that I’ve written called tragedy turned upside down. This is a book full of hope and help if you need some strength today, I call it God vitamins if you need some real uh inoculation of the Lord and faith and belief in your life. This book is for you. My readers have said they devour it. They sit in one sitting to finish it. They have laughed, they have cried. Most of them have taken notes on it because there’s so many good foundational truths in it that you will want to write down and keep for the storms of your life mostly, you’re gonna take this book and you’ll want to share it with others that are struggling to. So at your earliest convenience, I’d say, pick it up, read it, you will be blessed, blessed, blessed when you read this and share it with those that are struggling right now. Maybe even if they’re not struggling. Somebody who needs to know, maybe they don’t have faith and you want them to have faith. You want them to know who jesus is. This book is for you those words that you you just can’t bring to say to a friend or relative. This book is full of all the things that you had hoped to say to them, So pick it up at your earliest convenience.