What to do When You’re in Over Your Head

In over your head? Jonah was. His testimony is a classic description of that predicament. “The waters engulfed me to take my life; the watery depths closed around me; the seaweed wrapped around my head” (Jonah 2:5 BSB).

We All can Identify with Jonah

It’s easy to identify with Jonah if you think back to situations in which you made decisions and commitments that you regretted. They were times when you realized the price being extracted from you was more than you had the wherewithal to pay, and you were sinking into hopelessness and despair. Maybe you are experiencing something like that right now.

In Jonah’s case, the circumstance engulfing him in which he was fighting for his very survival, was because he had chosen to run from something God had asked him to do. But more often the messes we find ourselves in are a result of simply choosing to do something God has not asked us to do. And to be honest, sometimes, even when we are doing God’s will, the circumstances we face can overwhelm us.

A Key Truth about the Nature of God

No matter what the cause, when fighting, yet failing, just to keep our heads above water, desperation sets in, as it did for Jonah. What he did, despite the shame and regret for the error of his ways, in the face of what would seem to be their just consequences, reveals a key truth about the nature of God and Jonah’s relationship with Him.

The pivot point for him, as it should be for anyone drowning in such a distressful predicament, was his choice, despite whatever got him there, to humble himself and call out to God for help. Here in Jonah’s own words is what he did, and God did in response. “In my distress I called to the LORD, and He answered me. From the belly of Sheol I called for help, and You heard my voice” (Job 2:2 BSB).

It illustrates how a humble cry for help, in whatever distressful situation we may find ourselves, will always be heard and answered by God. In response God not only removes the stigma of our guilt and shame, but also extends His hand to deliver us from whatever hell we may feel ourselves sinking in to. God is not a respecter of persons and is merciful to all. His promise of deliverance is to all who call upon him. Three different places in the Bible plainly declare this truth about God. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32, Romans 10:13, & Acts 2:21).

Let Nothing Prevent Your Cry for Help

We must always be mindful therefore that things can never be too bad, nor can we ever be too bad, for God not to answer our cry for help. “Nothing,” the Bible tells us, “can ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus” So, never hesitate to “call upon the name of the Lord” if you find yourself in over your head, in circumstances of your own making or from causes beyond your control.

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