Thank God for Second Chances
Because of his prejudices Jonah did not want to go to preach to the people of Nineveh, so he took off for the sea port of Joppa where he boarded a ship that was sailing in the opposite direction, heading for the city of Tarshish.
At sea, according to the biblical record, God caused a raging storm to come up, a storm that threatened to sink the ship and drown everyone on board.
Fearing for their lives, the sailors were angry at Jonah because, instead of calling out to his God as they were to their gods, he was sound asleep down in the hold. They believed that the storm was caused by someone on board so they "drew straws" to see who it might be. Jonah was it ... so they threw the trouble-maker overboard into the raging sea. Immediately there was a great calm!
But God didn't give up on Jonah or the people of Nineveh. He sent a great fish to swallow Jonah, to bring him to his senses, and to save him from drowning. Down there in the belly of this fish, Jonah was zapped into reality real quick. He had two ways to go—his or God's. He chose God's. Smart man. He admitted to God that God was right and he was wrong ... after which the fish headed for the shore and threw up Jonah onto the beach!
Then comes the good news: "The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time!"1
Like Jonah, God will give you
a second chance too.
Even though Jonah blatantly disobeyed God and ran in the opposite direction, he couldn't get away from God. When he came to his senses and admitted his failure, God forgave him, rescued him, and re-commissioned him. The result was that Jonah went to Nineveh and proclaimed God's message. Subsequently, the people of Nineveh turned from their evil ways to God and were saved from self-destruction.
If you have been going the wrong way, aware of it or not, have failed in some way, or perhaps like Jonah have purposefully run from God, or are just feeling a sense of loss, emptiness, or hopelessness, this could very well be God's wake up call to you, calling you to himself. Or if you have strayed from him, chances are that he is using your present circumstances as a means of calling you back to himself. Like Jonah, when we're down in the mouth or in the pits, it's impossible for us to see things from God's perspective. One thing is certain, however, God knows where we are, exactly why we are where we are, and what his plans for us are.
Whatever your circumstances are, God wants you to turn to him and call on him for help. No matter what you have ever done or failed to do, God loves you with an everlasting love and will forgive you and help you if you call on him. Why not find a private place, or just in the quiet of your heart tell God right now exactly how you feel, admit to him any wrongs you may have done, or wrong directions you have taken and ask him to forgive you and to come into your heart and life.
Like Jonah, God will also give you a second chance and you, too, can live again.
For further help read the article, "Forgiveness: the Power That Heals."
1. Jonah 3:1.
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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