When we are in trouble or pain or suffering and cry out to God, there is a “Yes” from God we may receive that carries a condition: “YES, BUT CONFESS.” There are a lot of examples of this in Scripture, but we’ll look at just one: good old Jonah. God gives him a task, and he runs the other way – as far and as fast as he can.
Do I understand Jonah? Oh, yes! And I suspect you do, too. There are times when God tells us to do something and we outright refuse. And then, like Jonah in the belly of the great fish, we end up in a place that is … less than ideal.
Have you thought about being swallowed by a fish? This wouldn’t have been a cavern where you could find a comfortable place to sit and even walk around to ponder your situation. You would be in a living creature’s stomach, with the stomach acid eating into your skin, along with other food being digested.
Gross. Awful. Terrible. And it certainly bears a resemblance to some of the ugly situations we find ourselves in when we disobey the Lord. And so we, like Jonah, cry out for help and healing.
And God is willing – but only if we confess our sin and get back on track with what he wants us to do. When Jonah did that, he was spit up on the shores of Nineveh. Definitely the worse for wear, but alive and able to do what God wanted him to.
But what if we don’t confess? What if we choose instead to hug our sin to ourselves, justifying our actions, rationalizing our choices? Then that is our choice and, instead of healing, God will let us continue to sit in the muck and mire that will eventually kill us.
Remember, God always has a way out – but when we have sinned, the sign above the path out always reads “Confession.”