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A few years ago, my brother was asked to preach on Jonah chapter 2 for his church’s youth group. With very little time to prepare, he looked up images for sea monsters online (since “sea monster” is the term used in the KJV), and when he had the group’s attention, began to preach on Jonah’s prayer to God from the belly of the sea monster.
“While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord. Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, weeds were wrapped around my head. I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, but You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.” Jonah 2:7a, 5-6.
My brother pointed out that this prayer was prayed while Jonah was still inside the sea monster, that God hadn’t answered his prayer yet. He gave two examples from his own life of how God is still faithful in our suffering—one where God’s faithfulness was obvious, and the other where it wasn’t, and the suffering was ongoing (that one was me).
His point was that life will never be perfect and may not always be good, but God is perfect and God is good. At this point in the sermon, I decided I had to write a song about it.
Jonah’s later prayer of Jonah 4 (take away my life, for death is better), feels like my prayer many days. But if Jonah can remember the Lord while inside a monster of the sea, then I Will Remember.