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Up a Tree

In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. Jonah 2:2

My mother discovered my kitten Velvet atop the kitchen counter, devouring homemade bread. With a huff of frustration, she scooted her out the door. Hours later, we searched our yard for the missing cat without success. A faint meow whistled on the wind, and I looked up to the peak of a poplar tree where a black smudge tilted a branch.

In her haste to flee my mother’s frustration over her behavior, Velvet chose a more precarious predicament. Is it possible that we sometimes do something similar—running from our errors and putting ourselves in danger? And even then God comes to our rescue.

The prophet Jonah fled in disobedience from God’s call to preach to Nineveh, and was swallowed up by a great fish. “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: ‘In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me’ ” (Jonah 2:1–2). God heard Jonah’s plea and, “commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” (v. 10). Then God gave Jonah another chance (3:1).

After exhausting our efforts to woo Velvet down, we summoned the local fire department. With the longest ladder fully extended, a kind man climbed high, plucked my kitten from her perch, and returned to place her safely in my arms.

Oh the heights—and the depths—God goes to in rescuing us from our disobedience with His redeeming love!

Dear God, how we need Your rescue today!
Jesus’ death on the cross rescued us from our sins.


The story of Jonah is a story of the unexpected. The only character in the story who doesn’t obey God is the one the reader would expect to be obedient, the one who told the sailors, “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” (Jonah 1:9). In contrast to the fugitive prophet, the pagan sailors turn to God (v. 16); the fish did as the Lord commanded (2:10); the Ninevites (a blood-thirsty and pagan people) repented (3:5–10). But the unexpected doesn’t stop there. God goes to great lengths to teach Jonah who He is. Rather than punish the disobedient prophet who is angry at God’s mercy, God invites Jonah (and us) to contemplate the depths of His love and mercy.

When have you experienced the love and mercy of God?

J.R. Hudberg

By |2018-05-18T10:27:37-04:00May 22nd, 2018|
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