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When's Your Then?

Salisbury Post- June 9, 2018

Before the days of GPS or cell phones, I was driving home alone in an unfamiliar city late one night, and took a wrong exit on a dark, desolate road. Initially, turning around seemed a little tricky, so I kept on going, thinking I would eventually get to the right road. 


Within a few minutes, I began to feel that the only way home may be to click my heels together three times, and repeat, “There’s no place like home.” It got scary. After some aimless wandering, I THEN decided to pray. As soon as I breathed that prayer, I knew immediately to turn around and head back to where I made the wrong turn. I then got back on the right road.


It reminded me of the story of Jonah. He wasn’t lost, but he did go one direction when the Lord told him to go a different direction. Big mistake! 


He ended up in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. 


Jonah 2:1 says, THEN Jonah prayed. Yes, the prayer came after he spent what surely seemed like an eternity in the belly of that fish. 


According to Jonah 2:2-9, it was a prayer of thanksgiving! He was thankful he hadn’t drowned! The NIV version of this text expresses it as Jonah calling on the Lord in his distress - he had been hurled into the depths, the currents had swirled about him, the engulfing waters threatened him, and the seaweed was wrapped around his head. 


That’s a pretty clear visual to provide during a prayer!


After his prayer, Jonah 2:10 happened, “And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”


He was finally set free from the belly of the fish!


*Why did he not go the direction he should have to start with?

*Why did he not pray sooner?


*Why would we even ask those questions, when we do the same thing? We let it get really ugly and messy… hurled into the depths, currents swirling, engulfing waters, seaweed wrapped around our heads…before we pray. 


 Many of us have not had just one of those moments - but have had a lifetime of them. Choices made that were not taking us the right direction.


But… then. 


‘Then’ means ‘at that time,’ and ‘when’ we have a ‘then’ seems to be exactly ‘when’ we remember to pray. Aren’t you thankful that God allows us to turn around and get back on the right road?


So, when’s your then?


***Contact me and let me know how your then’s go at It seems ‘fishy’ to me that it has been a ‘long time no sea’ for some of you, but no need to feel ‘gill-ty.’ I’m just glad you read my columns!

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