A God of Second Chances

Peyton Johnston

April 22nd, 2018

Jonah 3:1-2

Have you ever been so intimidated by the call of God on your life that you wanted to run away from it? Do you ever feel so overwhelmed that you want to give up?

Jonah did.

God had given him an enormous task – to send a message of judgement to the city of Nineveh. Nineveh was the largest and most powerful city in all of the Assyrian Empire. It was also one of the most treacherous and sinful places to ever exist – guilty of unspeakable crimes. Jonah had grown up both fearing and hating the Assyrians who lived there. It’s no wonder why he was fearful to enter the city, let alone preach against them!

So Jonah chose to turn his back on his calling. He bought a ticket to board a ship heading in the complete opposite direction from the pagan city. It took a long journey, a fierce storm, and getting swallowed by a giant fish for him to finally repent and heed God’s guidance.

It would have been reasonable for God to be angry with Jonah’s utter disobedience. And it would have been understandable for God to shift His gaze to someone else who was more willing and faithful. But Jonah was met with grace from the God of second chances. The Lord stepped in time after time to push Jonah back onto the correct path. He saved Jonah from death. And He gave a Jonah a second chance to fulfill his calling. What an awesome God!

The choices of Jonah reveal his rather transparent nature of selfishness, stubbornness, pride, rebellion, and fear. It’s a nature we don’t particularly like, but have an unfortunate relatability to. When we hear a Word from the Lord that leads us to the scary unknown, our first instinct is to run, just like Jonah. But, of course, fleeing from God is impossible. His presence is all-encompassing; His eyes omnipresent. So resisting Him really does nothing except prolong the inevitable, forsake His favor, and create unnecessary turmoil.

What has God told you to do that you have avoided? Is it the pull to start a Bible study with your friend? A burden to serve on the foreign missions field? A conviction to abandon unhealthy habits? No matter what you’ve neglected, your story isn’t over yet. You may feel that you have missed your chance to obey His call, but don’t fret! For He is famous for forgiving the deepest sins, providing strength in opportunities we think we are not adequate for, and giving gifts we do not deserve. He will endlessly go out of His way to bring you back to where you belong. His love for you is just THAT deep!

But remember that you cannot seek His love and flee from His presence at the same time. Don’t be like Jonah – don’t run from God. If you resist the Lord long enough, He will eventually stop trying to intervene and allow you to go your own way. Before you can find redemption, you have to completely turn toward God and surrender your will. While Jonah was trying to escape from God, he only ever found disaster and chaos all around him. It wasn’t until he submitted himself to God’s plan that he found peace and fulfillment.

Pray: ​“Oh Lord, thank You for fiercely loving me through my every flaw. You have been SO good to me! You never cease to amaze me with Your passionate pursuit for me, even when I fail You. I pray that I never lose my way or ignore the words You speak to me. But if I do stray, send Your correcting hand to show me the right way. No matter what it takes, I want to be right with You!”