Every now and then, I like watching Ultimate Fighting Championship events. The action is none stop and unpredictable. There are two goals that rest on the fighters agenda; knock your opponent out or force your opponent into submission by tapping out. For this lesson, the focus will be on tapping out.
I’m not sure if being knocked out or tapping out is most humiliating for the losing opponent. Tapping out occurs when the fighter is put in a submission hold, and submits because the pain is too intense, or to avoid injury or losing consciousness. In layman’s term, tapping out is the same as saying “Uncle.”
From a spiritual perspective tapping out can be defined as surrendering to God’s will. The book of Jonah illustrates how God forcefully dealt with Jonah’s unwillingness to yield to God’s will for his life. Jonah felt the people of Nineveh deserved the penalty of God’s wrath which was death. However, God’s intention for Nineveh was uncompromising grace and mercy through repentance.
The Bible mentions how Jonah knew God would forgive the people of Nineveh as soon as he delivered the message God gave him. Thus, in utter rebellion Jonah fled from God in hopes the people of Nineveh would not receive the warning from God and be destroyed (Jonah 1:3).
Jonah’s blatant disobedience brought trouble upon unsuspecting sailors who were on their way to Tarshish (Jonah 1:4-5). Often times our disobedience to God results in collateral damage to the ones we supposedly love the most like our spouse, children or relatives. The scriptures mentioned how God sent a great wind on the sea that created a violent storm. The storm caused the sailors to be gripped with fear and the threat of losing their lives.
However, through all the turmoil Jonah 1:5 says, “But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep.” Often times we lay down on the will of God by partaking in deep slumber, not realizing we are denying ourselves God’s best for our lives. God only wants the best for his children.
I also understand the journey to God’s best for our lives may not appear the way we’ve pictured it. Which results in disobedience to God’s will. If we knew the plans God has for our lives, we would willfully submit to everything God ask of us. Our father has the unique ability of knowing the final outcome of every situation (Exodus 13:17-18) by knowing what’s ahead of us.
Of course, if we are stubborn about surrendering to the will of God, He has a way of getting our attention. Please do not hear God say, “Can you hear me now?” Trust me; He has a way of getting your attention. God got Jonah’s attention in a super natural way by causing a whale to swallow him whole.
The choice for Jonah was to surrender to God’s will or be disciplined by God. By the time God finished with Jonah, he was in the belly of a whale praying to the Lord:
Jonah 2:1-10 “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. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, 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, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord. And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”
God has blessed every human with the unique ability of reasoning. We are able to make choices and have free will. However, there comes a time when God prompts or directs us to a path that is greater than ourselves. The fulfillment of that plan calls for complete surrender to God. We may have questions for God and that is ok as long as we surrender to His will.
I’ve come to realize that on my best day of thinking, my ways are not God’s ways and his wisdom is superior (Isaiah 55:8-9). Surrender to the will of God for He desires His best for His children. Try God’s way today, I guarantee you will experience His best and nothing less.
** If anyone would like a special prayer request (Ephesians 6:18) please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (your privacy will be respected and honored); I would love to pray for you. I also ask that you think of others whom you can share this message with as well.