God Hears Your Cry from "Hell"

Some News You Can Use from Shelby Center

Have you ever gone looking for trouble and found it? Maybe you were minding your business and trouble found you - just came out of nowhere.

But most of the time, trouble is the result of poor choices we make or because of the poor choices others make. Trouble visits. And when it does be careful where you run.

In my years pastoring I’ve seen many running from God. They might be angry about some hurt or hardship in their life. Or they’ve experienced injustice and blame God.

Others get entangled in sin and are ashamed. For some, they know what God wants, refuse to do it, and so they run (Psa. 107:10-12, 23-27).

Friend, if trouble or some task God has asked of you brings you to your wits end, be careful what you do.

When you’re running from the Lord, you’ll be running into some special kind of trouble prepared for you!

The prophet Jonah feels God is asking too much and runs. In the process he gets himself and others in deep peril. He’d rather die than do what God wants. Ever been there? (From Jonah 1:12-3:3):
1. The Affliction (2:1-2)
· (1) Then Jonah Prayed… Why do we wait ‘til it gets so bad to pray? With Jonah’s revelation came responsibility.

When God stops you cold and puts you in a “prepared” place He’s doing it in love.

· (2) People endure a lot of pain and trouble to avoid doing what God’s word says. Don’t! Learn the lesson: You make choices, but God chooses the consequences (Gal. 6:7-8).

2. The Agony (2:3-6b)
· (3) Jonah learned you cannot get away from God (Psa. 139:7-12). God cares enough to harass you so that He can help you.

Pain and prisons get our attention and drive us back to God (Psa. 119:67-71).
God puts us in a place we cannot escape without His help. “Lord, it’s me again. You have my attention now. I’m ready to be rescued – from me – my sin – my stupidity – save me!”
· (4a) “I’m cast out of thy sight”. Be careful what you believe when things get bad. The devil will cause doubts and you’ll even lie to yourself. Believe God’s word (Psa. 102:17, 119:59)!

· (4b-6b) “Yet will I look again…” God responds to repentance and faith. He’s patient but you’re on borrowed time. Friend, have you had enough pain yet? Turn to Jesus and do what His word says.

3. The Agreement (2:6c-10)
· (6c-7) “Yet hast thou” When you hit bottom, look up, God’s there! This is repentance and faith. My way was wrong, I confess, I’m ready to do it God’s way.

Our predicament can change our perspective.

· (8) Friend, running from God is going to leave you empty and going the wrong way. There were only two ways out of that whale!

God is doing a good work in our lives when He makes us face reality.

· (9) Jesus responds to repentance! Have you promised God something and failed to follow through? Maybe it’s time to say yes to the gospel call. The sooner you agree with God the better (1 John 1:9).

· (10) “And the Lord spake”. Just a word from the Lord can change everything! Whatever the “hell” that is afflicting you, salvation is of the Lord. Jonah’s back on dry land – with a fresh start and choice.

· (3:1-3). Maybe today you’ve heard from the Lord “the second time”. Choices have consequences. As for Jonah, someone needed the gospel, and this time he goes. Will you?

Look again at Psa. 107:10-13. 23-28. In your distress - cry to God. Now v. 20!

Friend, if your present experience is defined by “out of the belly of Hell cried I”, remember the rest of the story – “and He heard me”! Call to Him.

No matter where, no matter what, no matter when, and no matter who, Salvation is of the Lord. You can stop running, turn to Jesus and trust Him today.

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