But the LORD provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17 NRSV)
Jonah was a prophet. God told Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh to hold a preaching mission. But Jonah didn't want to go. Nineveh was a foreign city with a reputation for evil ways. The Ninevites weren't Jonah's kind of people. No way was Jonah going to Nineveh. In fact he got on a ship and headed in the opposite direction, as far away from Nineveh and God as he could get.

On the ship Jonah discovered that it's not easy to escape from God. A violent storm rocked the vessel. Even hardened sailors were terrified. Jonah got the idea that maybe God was angry with him and he was the cause of the storm. The sailors pleaded with Jonah to help them. Jonah told them to throw him overboard and the storm would stop. The sailors were in no mood to argue. They did as he suggested. And yes, the storm did indeed cease.

We might think that this would be the end of Jonah. Not so. Jonah finds himself inside the belly of a large fish. For three days and three nights he has time to do a lot of soul searching. He decides that if God gives him another chance he will go to the city of Nineveh. Nineveh would be a big improvement over his current environment. God did give Jonah another chance.

God offers us lots of forgiveness and second chances.

Dear God, forgive me and guide me in sharing your love through my second chances. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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