God Knows How To Catch

God loves playing catch. There is one in particular called “Trust Fall”. God is very good at this game because He never misses.

10 min read

There is a little exercise many people do that builds trust. It's kind of a game for fun that people play at parties. It’s called “Trust Fall”. A volunteer simply folds his or her hands across the shoulder and falls backward allowing the friends to catch the dead weight from behind. It can be fun, but it can be risky if anyone misses the falling body.

Little children love playing catch. They stand at a distance and toss a ball off to their buddy very much expecting the ball to be caught and tossed back. They love playing catch with their friends, their siblings, and their parents. Did we know that God loves playing catch too? God too has a game of catch called “Trust Fall”. God is very good at this game because He never misses.

Let’s look at three different occasions when people were thrown and God caught them.

The Fiery Furnace

“Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments. And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in. So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames. But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers, “Didn’t we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?” “Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did,” they replied. “Look!” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” (Daniel 3:19-25)

You can read the story for yourselves to get the full scope of the circumstances. You have these three Hebrew boys who obviously trust God with their lives. They refuse to worship a man-made idol and King Nebuchadnezzar decides to punish them for embarrassing him in front of the people and circumventing his authority. He commands to have them executed in a fiery furnace and even has the furnace heated seven times hotter just to demonstrate the extent of his anger. He has his strongest soldiers carry them to throw them into the furnace.

Ever wonder why the king had his strongest soldiers do this? This was not his first rodeo. He has executed people in the furnace before. People don't just voluntarily walk into a blazing furnace joyfully. They kick and scream and bite and scratch and their adrenaline is pumping through their veins; they’re fighting for their lives. The king, to avoid the possibility of the spectacle of any of them getting away, chose his strongest soldiers to carry out this task. They tied them up and didn't even give them a chance to undress.

Have you ever picked up a suitcase thinking it was going to be very heavy, just to find out it was empty? You pick it up with such force and it flings into the air because it was actually very light. The strong Roman soldiers experienced something similar. They were chosen because of their strength. They were expecting resistance when they picked up the three Hebrew boys and carried them to the furnace. They probably commented with their fellow soldiers wondering why they aren't fighting back. They probably expected one last desperate surge of resistance from the Hebrew boys.

The Roman soldiers did not escort them into the furnace, they carried them and threw them in. Expecting some sort of resistance, they did so forcefully. But with no resistance whatsoever, the force and momentum carried them closer than they intended and they were burned up themselves.

What was inside the furnace? There was a lot of wood engulfed in flames. Even if the furnace was not ablaze in fire, the three Hebrew boys would have gotten injured just from the fall. But there was someone in there waiting to catch them. Someone who knows how to catch. Not only did “He” catch them, but He also surrounded them with a protective barrier that no fire in hell can ever penetrate. Does God know how to catch?

The Lion’s Den

“So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles so that no one could rescue Daniel. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night. Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God. Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.” (Daniel 6:16-24)

Daniel was a victim of blackmail. There were certain spies that were looking for a way to have him killed. But they had no way of getting it done because Daniel was chummy-chummy with the king. So they figured out a way to get the king to pass a law that would condemn Daniel and the king was completely oblivious to their scheme. Once Daniel was convicted of the alleged crime, the king found no way out of the law he just passed. Read the story yourselves to get the full scope of the circumstances.

King Darius reluctantly commanded that Daniel be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. Daniel was picked up and forcefully thrown in. Just like the three Hebrew boys, voluntarily jumping into danger is not exactly in our DNA. We need a little convincing help to do that. Had the king just told Daniel to jump in, Daniel would have probably stood there staring back at him saying “Really?”.

How deep was the lion’s den? Consider the fact that lions when motivated by hunger can leap over 12 feet high with no running start. With a running start, lions have been known to leap as much as 36 feet. The fall alone could have killed Daniel without the help of the lions. But, there was somebody down there already, ready to catch him before he hit the ground. Not only did “He” catch him, but He also surrounded him with a barrier the lions could not cross. Does God know how to catch?

The Giant Fish

“The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish. But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.” Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. “Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?” Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?” “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.” Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it. Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.” Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him. Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:1-17)

Read about Jonah to get the full context of the story. There are so many angles to look at these stories that it’s amazing how much we can squeeze out of them. Jonah was traveling to Tarshish by way of a sailboat because he was running away from God. A storm lashed out while they were in the middle of the sea. The storm came abruptly upon them because of Jonah. The poor Pagan sailors were nothing more than collateral damage. They had nothing to do with it, but because of their proximity to Jonah, they got caught in the middle of a dispute between God and Jonah. They found out that they were about to lose their lives all because of this lazy guy sleeping below the deck of their boat.

When they found out who he was, they asked him, what shall we do? Jonah told them to throw him into the sea and the storm will stop. They reluctantly did and the storm did stop just as Jonah said it would. Notice something interesting? Jonah knew why the storm came over them. Why didn’t he just jump overboard and save the sailors all that trouble? Well, as was mentioned earlier, suicide is not exactly standard human behavior. We just don't roll that way normally. After much debating, the Pagan sailors picked him up and threw him overboard.

Sailboats weren't that really big in those days. Jumping off of those is like jumping off a diving board at a local swimming pool. But staying above water during a violent storm, that’s another matter altogether. Poor Jonah sank like a rock. But guess what? Yup! There was someone waiting for him down there too. Someone who knew how to catch.

We all know there was a big fish down there in the water waiting for him. Please read Jonah chapter 2. This is Jonah praying to God while he was in the belly of this fish for three days. A few things can be gathered from this prayer. He never complained about the smell. If we were in somebody’s stomach, surely we would notice the stench of decaying food from previous meals. What else did he just happen not to mention? His skin was not burning. Have we ever been burned with hydrochloric acid? Well, it's not fun. But something key that he said shows he is truly a prophet of God who knows his God intimately.

“But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death!” (Jonah 2:6)

Who snatched him from the grips of death? He says it was God. Didn’t scripture say it was a fish? This may be debatable, but consider the fact that angels have the ability to “morph” themselves into any shape or appearance they please.

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” (Hebrews 13:2)

“But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Would it be beyond angels to appear like a whale? Angels are beings of light, they have to change their appearance if they are to appear as one of us. Christ presented Himself in the shape of a foreigner to two disciples on their way to Emmaus and they did not recognize Him. Let’s take a look at something.

“As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.” (Luke 24:14-16)

But notice how Mark presents his version.

“Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country.” (Mark 16:12)

These disciples knew Jesus intimately for over three years and they did not recognize Him because He appeared to them as someone else they did not recognize. This should not be surprising. Didn’t Christ say that after the resurrection, we will be like the angels in heaven?

“...nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:36)

After Christ was resurrected, He had the same abilities as angels. Who was He before He came down to live as a man? He was an angel, Michael the Archangel for that matter. So who really caught Jonah at the bottom of the sea? Does God know how to catch?

In all three cases, the three Hebrew boys, Daniel and Jonah, there was someone there waiting to catch them when they fell. Before Shadrach, Meshak and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, Christ was already in there waiting to catch them. Before Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, Christ was already down there waiting to catch him. Before Jonah was thrown off the boat and sunk into the sea, Christ was already down deep in the sea waiting to catch him. Would it be any different for us?

God wants us to trust Him. Do the “Trust Fall” with God, rest assured, He will not miss. Does God know how to catch?