Can God Redeem My Sinful Mistakes?
So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. - Jonah 1:15-16 ESV
When I look back on my life, I can see some paths of destruction where I’ve really made a mess of things. The hurts, mistakes, and stories of regret that sometimes cause me to disqualify myself as a Christian, and try to hold me hostage to a future of staying small and quiet rather than boldly declaring my love for the Lord. But while reading the four chapters of the book of Jonah, God placed a pretty strong reminder on my heart that I think you need to hear too: there’s nothing too broken by our own hands that God can’t use to bring Him glory.
In Jonah chapter 1, we see Jonah on a ship that’s about to sink because of HIS choice to run from God; His sin. In summary, he was asleep while the sailors were all praying to their gods. When they woke him and asked who he worshipped, Jonah told them He worshipped the Lord. After they cast lots to get to the bottom of who was responsible for angering God and causing this terrible storm, all signs pointed to Jonah, leading him to convince the crew to throw him overboard to calm the storm. As soon as Jonah was overboard, the storm stopped and the men on the ship were in awe of the one true God.
While Jonah’s sin caused all this mess, in the end, God used it as an opportunity to showcase his power to the entire crew. Because of this situation, they all converted and worshipped the Lord.
And Jonah? God had his best in mind too, because after being swallowed by that famous whale, he humbled himself, accepted the assignment the Lord gave him and went to Nineveh where he convinced the city to repent of their sins which saved them from destruction. (Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. Read chapter 4 to learn of Jonah’s attitude problem and God’s consistent compassion.)
The beauty of the book of Jonah is the common theme of the Lord’s sovereignty. God can use our mistakes - our rebellion and our missteps - for a bigger purpose. Only He can take what we make a mess of, and use it for the good of us and others.
If you’re discouraged because you feel unworthy due to an imperfect past, or you’re playing it safe because you’re worried about screwing up in the future, know that our God is a loving God who can make broken things beautiful. When we surrender to His will and His all-consuming love, we allow Him to bring glory out of our whale-sized screw-ups.
Challenge: Read the book of Jonah. It’s only four chapters long and a quick 10-minute read with incredible examples of how infinite and loving our God is.
With so much love,