“God is a God of second chances.” Have you ever heard that expression? It’s one of those things we say about God. It is a Christian cliché, but it’s a good one. If you are a Christian, then you have received a second chance.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. – Romans 5:12 (ESV)
We came into the world needing a second chance. This is why we have a Gospel–Christ died for my sins. Without a second chance we would be eternally divorced from God.
The Gospel gives us a second chance, which allows us to be born a second time. It also gives us many other second chances after we are born again. The Gospel applies to our salvation and to our sanctification (1 John 1:8-10).
Jonah was a believer in God who needed a second chance. He was God’s prophet. It seems like he would have been more obedient to God. But he wasn’t. Jonah was no different from the rest of us.
No matter how hard we try to spread the fame of God’s name, we will need God to be merciful to us again and again. We need second chances until we are finally glorified with Him.
There is purpose in failure
God gave Jonah an opportunity to trust Him. Jonah failed. God hurled a storm and appointed a whale to get Jonah’s attention. It worked. God was reorienting Jonah’s mind. Jonah’s trouble was God’s way of giving him a second chance.
- How do you perceive your troubles?
- Are you in a storm?
- Could it be your storm is your opportunity to respond to God?
- Is God giving you another chance?
Initially Jonah rejected God’s call on his life. Instead of going to Nineveh, he fled toward Tarshish. It’s as different as heading east when you’re supposed to head west. Jonah was running from what he knew to be the right thing to do.
God brought a big storm and a big fish into Jonah’s life. I’m not sure how long it took Jonah to get a clue. I do know it was no more than three days. It appears he quickly repented and God had him spit out in the right direction (Jonah 2:9-3:3).
The process in which Jonah was exerting his self-will is probably no different from the way the rest of us “run” from God.