More Than Second Chances

The Bible story of Jonah and the whale has been told to little kids and old people and everyone in between in many ways for many years – through poems, songs, cartoons, stories, etc. Well, Jonah was a prophet who God loved, and He preached the Mercy of the Hebrew God to the people. One day God appeared to Jonah and said, “Go to Nineveh, tell them of my mercy and love, because Nineveh will implode in 40 days.” Jonah began to question God and say, “What will I tell them? I have no story! Besides, the Ninevites are our enemies, they come and steal our boats and nets and are always hurting us!” But God said, “Just tell them of my mercy and love.” Then God disappeared.

Jonah, fearful, ran down south in the opposite direction. He ran all night down the coast, away from where God was telling him to go in Nineveh. Then in the morning he saw a ship that was leaving for another country, and he jumped on it. He paid the fare, and went down into the bottom of the ship and fell asleep because he was so tired, from all the hiding from God, being very depressed. When the ship went out into the deep sea, a major hurricane came up, and the captain came down to the bottom of the ship and said “Who are you?” Then Jonah said “I am a Hebrew who serves a Hebrew God but am running away from him.” So the captain took him back up to where the sailors were and they said Jonah was the trouble and was the cause of the hurricane and so then Jonah said “Throw me overboard.” He knew he was running away from God, and felt hopeless, and depressed. But they didn’t want to throw Jonah overboard because they didn’t want his blood on their hands. So instead they threw all the cargo overboard but then Jonah insisted he was the troublemaker, so they then threw him overboard because the hurricane was getting worse!!

The ship sailed away and the hurricane quit. Jonah was in the ocean, hollering “God what have I done!?!” While half drowning… what seemed like the Coast Guard coming, was a whale!!!! One gulp of the whale and Jonah found himself sitting inside its stomach. For three days Jonah was in there and it was dark and smelly, with rotting fish. So he started crying to the Lord – asked forgiveness, repented. For three days! Then the whale did one burp and Jonah was on the beach! Full of seaweed and rotten fish smell! He asked the people on the beach where he was. They said “Nineveh!” So I guess they hosed him down and dragged Jonah to the king. This king was a nasty one, and he was leading his people in their very cruel acts. Jonah told the King of Nineveh his story, and about His God of Mercy & Love, and that Nineveh would implode within 40 days. The king became fearful and ordered a fast and ordered all the people to fast and repent in response to this, and they all turned around to the Hebrew God and got saved!!!! The whole city, 140,000 of them, all turned around and were saved from destruction!! Jonah was angry at God though because He didn’t destroy them, but God was a God of Mercy and Love and He could not destroy them because they had repented.

I like this story because many times it is like the story of our own lives. What we get from the Word of God, is by the Mercy and Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who redeemed us, Jesus is always our Savior!! He never, never gives up on us. He does not chuck us over the boat for good. He rescues us in our hopelessness and depression. Man, how many times have we been rescued during our lifetimes. His Grace & Mercy are stronger than all the hurricanes in our lives!! What a beautiful Father we have!!

Jesus is always standing at the door of our hearts knocking. All we have to do is open the door and let him in!! Then His Holy Spirit will be our guide and comforter. Remember, God loves you very, very much!!

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