My husband and I attended youth group at a church we have been going to and the lesson for the night was about Jonah and the big fish. I kinda thought it was a story that had been done and overdone but I really learned something.
First, for those of you who don’t know the story, here is a very condensed version. Jonah was called by God to go to Ninevah to tell the people there to repent or God would destroy them. Jonah went to the sea and got on a boat going in the exact opposite direction. You see Jonah did not like the people of Ninevah and really wanted God to destroy them. As the boat was sailing a huge storm came up and threatened to capsize the boat. Everyone on the boat started praying to their own gods to save them except Jonah who was asleep below. The storm raged on and the people on the boat woke Jonah up and told him to pray to his God for the storm to stop. Then they cast lots to see whose fault the storm was. Of course Jonah came up with the short straw. Jonah had told them that he had fled from the presence of the Lord and they asked him what they should do so that his God would spare them. Jonah told them to cast him overboard.
Jonah 1:13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea raged, and was tempestuous against them.
14Therefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech you, O LORD, we beseech you, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you.
15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from its raging.
17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
What I find interesting in this story is, that even in Jonah’s disobedience, God did wondrous things through him. The men on that boat may have never had the chance to experience God’s miracles if Jonah had not been on that boat. Those men had prayed to their own gods to save them and those gods could not. But our God could! He is a God of second chances. He gave those men on that boat the chance to turn to Him and they did but he also gave Jonah a second chance to do the right thing and go to Ninevah. Jonah prayed inside the big fish and after three days the fish spit him out. Jonah then went and did what God asked him to do in the first place. Isn’t God amazing?
So what can we learn from this? Jonah taught us many things but the one that sticks out to me the most is that even in our misguided lives, when we find ourselves out of the will of God, He can still use us for good.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.