Transformation (part 5)
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Charles was one of the lucky ones. He had fine Christian parents who saw that he attended church with them regularly. But when he turned eighteen, his luck ran out. He was hanging out with a couple of younger buddies when he stole a car to take it on a joy ride. Because they were minors, his friends got off easy, but not Charles-the prosecution tried him as an adult and he got jail time. Because it was his first offense, he only got a couple of months, but it was still jail time.
Sitting behind bars, the only thing Charles had was time. He had plenty of it, to sit and to think. As he sat on his bunk staring at the cinder block walls, he thought about what he did, his future, and he thought about the things he learned in Church. He knew he had a decision to make.
"When I had no place to turn," Charles said. "I turned to God." (Fresh Illustrations http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
Sometimes, that's how it happens. People grow up hearing the truth, but don't apply it to their life, for whatever reason, until they don't have any other options. Then they turn to God.
That's what happened to Jonah. From the belly of the fish, he prayed, "In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.  You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.  I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'  The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.  To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God.  When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple." (Jonah 2:2-7 NIV)
Jonah's prayer was a prayer of desperation that a person groans when they are at the bottom. Verse 6 says he descended to the roots of the mountains, which to the ancients would mean at the bottom of the sea. From that deep, dark pit, he cried.
The Psalmist wrote, "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." (Psalm 40:2)
For the psalmist the phrase "slimy pit" was a metaphor to express what it is like to be bogged down by sin and worry. But for the prodigal son, it wasn't a metaphor, it was his home.
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