A Second ChanceThis article was written by an English teacher. It was not written or produced by any particular religious group or denomination. It is provided free of charge as an expression of God’s love for mankind.
Do you need a second chance? As a school teacher, I know the importance of giving second chances. Students who struggle with particular concepts may need the opportunity to remediate a test. Others who break the rules need a second chance to modify their behavior. People often make mistakes and later realize the error of their ways. God knew this to be true, which is why He has given all of us a second chance.
If anyone ever needed a second chance, it was Jonah.
God called him to minister to the Ninevites. Instead of obeying the word of
the Lord, he had the brilliant idea to run away from God. He headed to the
port of Tarshish instead of Nineveh (Jon. 1:3). Someone should have told him
his sojourn away from God would not be successful. Once the call of God is
placed on your life, God will not give up on you.
God sent a horrific storm upon the vessel, “such
a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up” (Jon. 1:4). The
crew members began to call out to their own gods. They were fearful for
their lives. But the one true God was trying to get the attention of a
certain individual named Jonah.Jonah told the crew he was running away from God, even before they
cast lots to determine who was responsible for this life-threatening
situation. They asked Jonah what they could to stop
the fierce storm.
“’Pick me up and throw me into the sea,’ he replied, ‘and it will become
calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you’”
Not wanting God to be angry with them for throwing a man overboard, they tried unsuccessfully to get back to shore. Yet they could not make any progress, “for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried out to the Lord, ‘Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.’ Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm” (Jon. 1:13-15).
What did Jonah think
as he was cast over the side of the ship? Did he truly believe this would be
the end? Had he given up on any possibility of the Lord saving him,
considering his rebellious nature? Could he even muster up the courage to
call on the Lord to rescue him from these dire circumstances?
Even though Jonah
may have given up, or even felt relieved to be freed of his commission to go
to Nineveh, God had other plans. According to Jonah 1:17, “the
Lord provided a
huge fish to swallow Jonah, and
Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” God
provided a second chance for Jonah, a nonconventional haven from the
What does a person do in the belly of an enormous fish? Well, you certainly
could not phone a friend or watch the local news! And could you imagine what
the aroma must have been like in this environment? So Jonah did the one
thing he knew was best. He prayed. Earnestly, he cried out to God in his
distress. Jonah prayed, “‘What
I have vowed I
will make good.
I will say, “Salvation comes
from the Lord.’” And the Lord commanded
the fish, and it vomited
Jonah onto dry land” (Jon. 2:9-10).
The very moment Jonah decided to obey the Lord’s command, he was freed from this unlikely prison. He was rescued from this plight in which he found himself all because he had a change of heart. He was given a second chance.
Nineveh was also given a second chance. God intended to destroy the city of Nineveh, due to their wickedness. “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He relented and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened” (Jon. 3:10). God spared the city because Jonah preached to the Ninevites. One second chance led to another second chance.
What about you? Have you made a wrong turn in life? Does it seem as if you are imprisoned by your poor decisions? If you need a second chance like Jonah, call on the Lord right now. God’s Word says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Jesus gave His life for you, so you could receive the gift of salvation. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so whoever believes in Him could have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Jesus Christ loves you more than you could ever imagine. Just as Jonah could not stray away from God, neither can you wander out of the reach of the love of Christ (see Rom. 8:37-39). Stop running away from God and start running toward the only One who can save you. He will give you a fresh start, if you put your trust in Him. No matter what you have done, where you have been, or who you are; God will provide a way out.
While your rescue may not require a colossal sea creature, you can rely on the fact that God will provide exactly what you need, “for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8). God will provide a refuge from the storm. He will save you, if you will only believe. Call on the name of Jesus Christ. Receive a second chance, a rebirth in Christ Jesus!
The Gift of Eternal Life
Put your trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus will cleanse your sins and fill you with peace that passes all understanding. Today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2). Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Jesus loves you unconditionally. Jesus died to save you. He rose again and wants to give you eternal life. If you are looking for everlasting hope, a constant friend and help in times of trouble, pray these words:
Thank You for loving me unconditionally. I believe You died on the cross and rose again. Please forgive me of my sins. Come into my heart and make me a new creation. I want to live for You. Help me share Your love with others.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.If you prayed this prayer, I encourage you to read the Bible, find a church family who can encourage you in your new walk with Christ, and most importantly, pray for God to help you.
May God bless you always,
Allscripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.
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