October 4, 2011 • By Ed Wrather
Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, “How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” - Luke 15:15-17 NKJV.
Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish's belly. - Jonah 1:17 - 2:1 NKJV.
Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. - Acts 9:8-9 NKJV.
A scuba diver has been found in South Africa in the wrong place, at the wrong time. A rescue operation was mounted after a report from a friend of a scuba diver, that his friend was missing. The search was called off, after the mother of the diver, called to say that her son had been located. The diver had called his mother to let her know that he was in jail at a police station. He had been arrested, because he was diving “without a permit in a protected marine environment.” (Orange News 09.16.11)
The scuba diver's problems began when he chose to dive illegally in a marine environment protected by law. While everyone was searching for him, he found himself locked up in jail. He was safe, but still in uncomfortable circumstances because of the choice that he had made to break the law.
In the Bible, there are several individuals who found themselves in difficult circumstances because of the choices they had made. The Prodigal Son chose to take his inheritance early and went off to a “far country” to party it away. The Prodigal Son found himself in a condition so terrible that he was ready to eat what the pigs were eating if he could have done so. We all know that Jonah's refusal to respond to God's call resulted in his finding himself in the belly of a great fish. Nothing pleasant about that! Then, there is Saul, aka the yet to become apostle Paul, who found himself struck blind by the Lord Jesus.
The Prodigal Son, Jonah, and Saul all had decisions to make after finding themselves in these terrible predicaments. They could have chosen to remain as they were, and see things grow even worse. The Prodigal Son could have stayed there and eaten pig food if he could have found some. Jonah could have refused to change his mind and rotted away in the belly of the big fish. Saul could have refused to give up his hatred of those who believed in Jesus and remained blind for the rest of his life. Those would have been terrible decisions, but they could have decided to keep going in the same direction that had brought these terrible situations upon them. I think we all know people or have heard of people who are just that stubborn, who are just that addicted to their drugs, or their beliefs, or their ideas, or their way of doing things; that refuse to change, even when they know they are wrong.
The thing that we see in the lives of the Prodigal Son, Jonah, and Saul is that people can change the direction of their lives. They may not want to change, but they can turn around anyway. The Prodigal Son surely did not want to go home, and face his father, or his brother. We know Jonah still hated the Ninevites, even after he preached to them. Saul had to turn his back on everything that he had believed, even his friends to change from the direction his life had been headed.
People can change the direction of their lives. You can change the direction of your life. It begins with a decision. A decision has to be made. A decision to be obedient to your Lord Jesus. If that decision needs to be made in your life, there is no better time than now to make it.
Where did God find you today?