Jonah 2:1-9 depicts a prayer flowing from a point of great disorientation. The poet’s words are put in the mouth of Jonah, a prayer from within the pit of the great sea monster. There is no more hopeless moment. Already swallowed, beyond all hope, in the depth below. The prayer expressed the deep sense of disorientation – not feeling able to connect with the temple, which is the center of worship. Not feeling any hope will come.
And yet Jonah is able to praise God for deliverance, knowing that even when Jonah could not find his way, even to pray toward the temple as his faith encouraged, God could find God’s way to Jonah.
Sometimes we feel just so disoriented. Up feels like down to us; down like up. We have trouble knowing which steps before us are right, and which are going to be pitfalls. We are full of fear and uncertainty. We aren’t sure where God is, and what God is calling us to do. Our voices croak wordless, unable to speak, when we seek to pray.
When we face such moments, we are reminded by this example: you may not see the way ahead or the way to God, but God sees you. God is able to find you. To reach you. To guide you. You do not need to know the way. You only must remain open to God. Remain open and participate with God in those small ways that become clear to you bit by bit. God’s guidance is like the lighthouse light which, though dim through the fog of this moment, can guide you through to your next step.
I cannot speak for you, but for me that promise – that God is faithful, able, and always able to reach me – is an encouragement. It gives me strength to move one foot in front of the other.