by Paula Harrington
Too often when we think of Jonah our minds immediately race to the big fish. We teach this epic story to our children and repeatedly stress the wondrous way that God saved Jonah.
The prophet’s second chance does play out in the rich book. However, it isn’t the greatest theme we should emphasize. Jonah’s story is nothing if not a tribute to the overwhelming compassion of a mighty God.
Like Jonah, how often do we run from the will of God? Do we ignore his plea to proclaim the good news? Do we make excuses for how sinful our neighbors are instead of taking them to the great Forgiver?
God loves those who live in a cell as much as those who live in a suburb. The Redeemer knows those who don’t value faithfulness, marriage, or life. He sees the ones rooted in evil. He weeps for those whose lives are so entrenched in sin and scandal that they think they could never be forgiven.
Our Father not only spared a corrupt, idol worshiping nation, he saved his people through a prostitute (Joshua 2, Hebrews 11:31). He let the one who denied his son preach that life changing sermon in Acts 2. And in a gesture so difficult to comprehend, he gave his perfect son for sinners like me and you.
Our God is creator (Genesis 1:1) and judge (Psalm 7:11) but he is also mercy (Job 36:5, Psalm 103:8) and love (I John 4:8).
He isn’t ours to market as we see fit nor should we hide him in the quiet walls of a carpeted building. It’s time to proclaim his name in the streets, prisons, and jungles. Quit thinking that the preacher is the only one who should be taking your loving God to a dying world. It’s every Christian’s calling, responsibility, and purpose.
He will save those we believe are unsavable. He will wash those we deem unwashable. I know he will, because he did it a long time ago in the land of the Ninevites and he continues to do it today.