Have you ever been upset with your parents or authority. You were grounded, or you had restricted privileges and you hated it. In that place, you didn’t want to obey because you didn’t want to admit you were wrong. You didn’t want to change. You started to pity yourself and once you started, it took a while for you to stop.
I know I have been in that predicament, and I’m sure you have been too. The bible character Jonah was once there too. Jonah had been told to go to Nineveh and warn them about the coming judgment. To make a long story short, Jonah didn’t want to warn the people of Nineveh because of his personal prejudice. His refusal to do God’s command landed him an uncomfortable spot in the belly of a big fish. The darkness, stomach acid, smell, and other characteristics made the place unbearable. But did you know that Jonah waited three days before he prayed?
Jonah 1:17 says, "Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." Jonah 2:1 says, "Then Jonah prayed." Jonah’s pity party took a while. Jonah spoke of his prayer, "I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD." Notice, he cried because he was afflicted. Jonah was so uncomfortable, that he wanted to get things right. Later we find that Jonah was upset because the people of Nineveh repented. The Lord afflicted him again to try to make him see that life wasn’t about his personal agendas.
We don’t know if Jonah repented, or continued in his pity party until he died. We can’t change Jonah’s life, but we can change ours. I would like to encourage you, don’t wait until you are afflicted to decide to serve God. Realize that God’s purposes are greater than your petty desires. It may sound a little harsh, but if you will humble yourself and serve God, you will save yourself a lot of chastisement.
Just think of how much affliction pharaoh could have avoided if he obeyed God the first time.