Elephants and Wrestling
“…Jonah…fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, ‘How can you sleep? Get up!’ The sea was getting rougher and rougher… ‘I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.’” Jonah 1:5-12
On any given day we can find ourselves stepping right into the sandals of many biblical characters. We have been given these snapshots throughout the Bible to both encourage and convict. This morning while reading this portion of scripture I couldn’t help but remember a night over ten years ago when I was awakened by the Captain of my life – the Holy Spirit.
It had been 3 years of secrecy, anxiety, inner chaos and fear which all lived behind big brown eyes and a smile. I had slowly and secretly mounted thousands of debt, believing that I would eventually be able to get control of it without revealing the situation to my husband. But thankfully, God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. I was awakened with the inability to breathe as if an elephant was sitting on my chest. All I could sense was the Holy Spirit saying, ‘Get up! Wake him up and tell him!’ I wrestled with God over this for about an hour and finally lost the battle. God was relentless in wanting freedom for me. So with God beside me we woke Bruce up and after many tears and much fear we navigated ‘through this great storm that I had brought upon us.’ When I think of the regret and shame I felt when our eyes met I can only imagine the same of Jonah as he was awakened and stood eye to eye with the innocent.
Whether motivated by sin or motivated by attitude, our actions will affect those whom we love. The manner in which we live our life doesn’t reside in a vacuum but in an integrated and connected way. Just as the fallen domino pushes down the next one so do our decisions. We must be aware that the way we view and respond to things will affect those around us. The attitudes that we hold deep in our hearts regarding others will spill out onto the lives of innocent people. So whether we are acting in sin or responding in unhealthy emotions we are creating dangerous waters for those who God has placed around us. Faithfully, God started immediately working in Bruce’s heart for forgiveness and reconciliation. He gave me nothing but grace – God and Bruce – now that is love patterned after love.
I am eternally grateful for the night of the elephant, the wrestling match and the defeat. That night was my 2 Co. 3:17 experience. ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.’
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