The Puritan prayer “The Valley of Vision” speaks of the distance between a sinful man and his holy God. The man says to God, “Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision . . . ; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.” Aware of his wrongs, the man still has hope. He continues, “Stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine.” Finally, the poem ends with a request: “Let me find Thy light in my darkness, . . . Thy glory in my valley.”
Jonah found God’s glory during his time in the ocean’s depths. He rebelled against God and ended up in a fish’s stomach, overcome by his sin. There, Jonah cried to God: “You cast me into the deep . . . . The waters surrounded me, even to my soul” (Jonah 2:3,5 nkjv). Despite his situation, Jonah said, “I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you” (v. 7). God heard his prayer and caused the fish to free him.
Although sin creates distance between God and us, we can look up from the lowest points in our lives and see Him—His holiness, goodness, and grace. If we turn away from our sin and confess it to God, He will forgive us. God answers prayers from the valley.
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Your stars shine; let me find Your light in my darkness.
The darkness of sin only makes the light of God’s grace shine brighter.
Jonah initially ministered to the northern kingdom of Israel during the powerful reign of Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:23-28). God reassigned him to minister to the Assyrian city of Nineveh and to warn them to repent or face God’s judgment (Jonah 1:1). After Jonah refused this new mission and instead fled in the opposite direction (v. 3), God disciplined him by causing him to be swallowed up by a big fish during a violent storm (vv. 4,17). Jonah 2 records Jonah’s prayer of repentance when he was inside the fish. Jesus used this event to foreshadow His own burial and resurrection when He said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40; Jonah 1:17). Sim Kay Tee