Matters of Faith: At Our Lowest Point

By Rev. J. Loren Russell

Jonah 1:17-2:2 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. And he said: “I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.”
For Jonah, being in the belly of the fish was like being in Hell. He was there because he refused to obey the Lord’s instruction to go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent. He was willing to do whatever he could think of to avoid that destiny. The fish’s belly had to be the most vile and disgusting place he had ever been. But miraculous things happened while he was in the belly of the fish. He cried out to the Lord and the Lord heard his prayer. Things began to change. He did not die. Then, his belief that he could somehow run away from the omnipresent God, died. His reluctance to go to Nineveh to tell the people to repent, died. His attempt to avoid his destiny, died. While Jonah was living through the lowest point of his life, the Lord heard him.

Like Jonah, the United States has had experiences in Hell, the latest on January 6, 2021. Those who rioted in Washington refused to allow change to come to the nation. They had determined to do whatever they could to change the destiny that had been mandated through the election of Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris. The riot in Washington was one of the most vile and disgusting events ever seen. The despicable events of January 6 overshadowed the election of the first Black man and the first Jewish man to the US Senate in the state of Georgia.

Civil-minded citizens had hoped we were beyond the anger, the hate and the bigotry that dominated the days when Dr. King led a march on Washington. Yet, the incident of January 6 revealed just how deep this nation has descended. We have found ourselves in the belly of the beast. Yet, there is still hope.

There is a certain irony that we will celebrate the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just two days before the Presidential inauguration. It is ironic because the President-elect is a white Catholic man, and the Vice President-elect is a woman who also happens to be a woman of color, and both will be sworn in just steps away from the very spot where, fifty-two years ago, Dr. King told the world about his dream of “a nation where people would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Dr. King also said, “We must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.” When Jonah cried to the Lord, the Lord heard his voice. His future was affirmed after his experience in the Hell of the belly of a fish. In like manner, the future of this nation will be revealed through the chaos and confusion of January 6. As we cry out to the Lord for healing and unity, He will hear our voices. Like Jonah, we will be delivered from the throes of Hell because the Lord shows up at our lowest points.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; and creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen on Matters of Faith on Facebook LIVE.

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