Monday, February 23, 2009

Fish Food

I taught Children’s Church yesterday. I generally don’t like the stress and worry of preparing a lesson, an activity and a snack, but once I am there with the kids, I realize what a sweet blessing it is to share with them. They bless me in a huge way.

So yesterday, we learned about Jonah. I read them the story, and then I asked them what they thought it would be like to be inside the belly of a big fish for THREE WHOLE DAYS and THREE WHOLE NIGHTS!!! As you can imagine, they thought it would be dark and scary, lonely, slimy, stinky, and slobbery, and then they started thinking about things like …what did Jonah eat while he was in there? and …where did he go to the bathroom (eeeewwwww)? and …did he have a blanket and pillow to sleep on? And …did he get seasick? and (my favorite) ….what did he do for fun “because he didn’t have a Wii game in there…!”

So we talked about the fact that while he was in the belly of the fish, Jonah prayed! And he didn’t just pray the obvious, that he would be delivered from his very real predicament as fish food. Instead, Jonah praised God and offered up a song of thanksgiving:

“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.” Jonah 2:7-9a

And then as the story continues, after Jonah is “vomited” onto the shore, he decides that well, he will just obey God after all and make that trip to Nineveh, as God had told him to do, and he will preach to the sinful Ninevites. The kids loved the story, and I think they got the message – it’s best to obey God from the get go, rather than to run away from God’s voice.

And while I’ve never taken a trip in the belly of a fish, I too have learned this particular lesson the hard way. I’ve had seasons of running from God, and I learned the same thing that I think Jonah learned:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Psalm 139:7-8

So when we were wrapping up the lesson, and I asked the kids what they learned, one of the boys said “You gotta obey God, or you’re going to be in stinky, slimy, scary place.” Amen buddy, Amen!




His grace is sufficient. said...

You never know what is going to come out of the mouths of babes. But don't you love it. I know I do. I am like you though the preparation is discouraging at times but the joy of teaching is worth it.

Jenni said...

Love it!! What a great reminder; thank you again, Adrienne!

Cindy said...

The little boy was right! If we don't obey God we will be in a stinky, slimy, scary place. I know, I've been there.

I am thankful that like Jonah, God has given me other chances.

Lora said...

What a beautiful prayer Jonah 2:7-9a is - I'm so glad you shared that this morning! Too many times I'm like Jonah and remember the Lord when I'm in the belly of a fish. The line "those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs" really spoke to me to. It is a sacrifice to let go of worthless idols. I do not want to forfeit God's grace.

Anonymous said...

read your book favorite at lpm ....have you read " A Winter's Tale", too? that's my favorite Helprin ...God he is SUCH A GREAT WRITER...word and picture man! have read your comments for awhile and always enjoy reading them but this is my first stop at your "FAB" blog!!!!