It was Christmas vacation week for the children. We had just moved to NY state to begin a new pastorate in a small rural church near Binghamton. Our son was in 6th grade and we knew it would be hard for him to adjust mid-year to a new school and to make new friends. So we prayed.
God made a way for Dave to have a Christian teacher and even though we arrived mid-year, this teacher saw to it that Dave was able to participate in the class trip - a whale watchin g trip to the New England coast near Boston. He loved it and came home with such glowing reports of his trip, we decided to take a family vacation to the same area and see the whales for oursleves.
The humpback whales showed off for us that day, rising to the surface, spraying watery mists into the air and showing off their tails in awesome fluking maneuvers. Several even swam alongside the boat before disappearing into the depths. Though I know the humpbacks are too small in size to swallow a person, they are huge when they swim right by the boat. Watching them speed by did make the nervous butterflies dance in my stomach!
One of the most interesting facts I learned on that trip was that each humpback whale's tail fin markings were different - as unique as fingerprints are to us. Because of that, scientists were able to name and study individual whales in their respective pods.
I am awed by the creativity and love ouf our God. Not only does He create each of us with different appearances and abilities, He also takes the time to nurture those abilities so we can reach our fullest potential in Him!
I'm sure Jonah didn't appreciate the experience he had in the belly of that great fish God prepared to save his life, but that experience affected Jonah's future growth and ministry in a profound way. He left the beach where the whale vomitted him up and went to Nineveh. There he preached with such conviction and authority, that the whole city repented. Before his inner-whale experience, Jonah was wishy-washy and fearful. God knew this man needed the whale to fully develop his God-given abilities.
I may never be swallowed by a literal whale like Jonah, but there have been things of whale-like proportions that have swallowed or threatened to swallow me. But God used each experience to create growth and strength in me so I am able to minister for Him. If He thinks I need to experience the whale to grow, I will trust Him in that.
Thank You Lord for creating me as an individual and for taking the time to personally nurture that individuality so I may become the best me I can be for You!
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