The book of Jonah is the story of the sovereignty of God. Sovereignty means that God is ultimately in control of, well-everything. History, kings and rulers, the seas and the land, weather, the destiny of great cities, the path of a man. It also is the story of God's compassion. Maybe Jonah didn't want Nineveh to repent but God did. He wanted to show them his mercy in spite of the fact that they were heathens who did not worship him or follow his ways.

Okay, you might say, but what makes Jonah's prayer so great? Jonah's prayer is great because he finally surrendered. The story starts with a hard hearted and rebellious man who ultimately bowed his will before a sovereign God and obeyed. Jesus tells a similar story in Matthew 21:28-32 of the New Testament. A father had two sons and he told each of them to go work in his vineyard. The first son said "I will not". But then he regretted his decision and went out into the field to work. The second son said he would go but then did not. Jesus asks which of the two did the will of his father. The answer, of course, is the first son who initially refused.

God did not reject Jonah because he disobeyed; in fact, he patiently kept pursuing him and protecting him until he had a change of heart. This is good news for you if you have been in rebellion or disobedience. God will give you another chance. Maybe you are in a mess right now because of your own choices; maybe you are reaping what you have sown. Because of that you may have felt that you couldn't expect much help from God or that there was no way back to God's plan for your life. It should comfort you to know that God is still sovereign and he is still in the forgiving and restoration business.

If this is you, surrender is your key. Finally, once and for all, surrender your whole self to God's will and be determined that you will obey from now on no matter what he tells you to do. Then see what happens. You may have your own "Big Fish" story to tell someday. When you do, be sure to share it with us at Hannah's Cupboard.


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