These days I’m in a beautifully refining stage of parenting. My kids are getting older, and daily life lessons are shifting beyond the playground. We’re navigating culture together, resulting in the development of deeper Biblical world views. The questioning “whys” are no longer surface pleas of an impatient three year old (though our answers to these “whys” can absolutely begin to lay a significant spiritual foundation). They’re legitimate questions about the world and the perfect character of God that deserve our time and study.
The Bible is filled with stories of the broken and redeemed. There’s so much beauty and hope for us in these pages. The more we study God in His Word, the more we can see our own lives through the lens of His mercy.
Mercy: compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
As I study the book of Jonah with fresh eyes in this season, I’m learning some new things about Jonah, some revealing things about me, but I’m learning even more about the faithful God who gives more grace than any of us deserves.
Child of God, recognize the stunning forgiveness and mercy that God has extended to you.
There was a day when I looked at that big fish that swallowed Jonah and saw only punishment. At first glance, it looks pretty clear cut, right? The rebellious prophet ran from God, so God sent a supernatural storm and a ginormous fish to swallow Jonah up and set him back on course. Could God have chosen another more obedient and efficient prophet to carry out His plan? Totally. But God’s in it for the fullness of His glory, for the good of His people, and He’s never seemed to be too concerned with what we would consider efficient.
In the mysteries of His great love, God disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:7-11). He corrects and trains us for our holiness, peace, and righteousness (Hebrews 12:10-11). But this righteous concern has a unique and refining beauty – it’s handed out by a compassionate Savior who is full of mercy. In the belly of the fish Jonah remembers… “the waters closed in over me to take my life.” He was tangled in seaweed at the roots of the mountains, his life “fainting away.”
“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me…”
Did you catch that?
Before he was swallowed up Jonah was drowning, and a great fish was God’s answer to Jonah’s prayer. The humbling belly of that fish was God’s tender hand of mercy surrounding Jonah and lifting him out of that pit.
What if instead of rejecting God’s discipline, we began looking at it as a doorway to our deliverance?
In response to God’s mercy, let your life be marked by worship and gratitude.
Though it’s a far from perfect transformation (as we’ll see later in the book), Chapter 2 still is a turning point for Jonah:
Jonah was humbled.
Jonah recognized God’s authority.
Jonah recognized his depravity apart from God.
Jonah recognized that he needed to turn and obey.
Jonah worshipped the God who saved him.
Would others say that our levels of obedience, gratitude, and worship reflect that we’ve had a personal, life-changing encounter with Jesus?
Because God’s mercy has given you new life, generously extend mercy to others.
Jonah was repulsed at the thought of delivering a message of hope to his enemies, the Ninevites. Instead, he wanted God to pour His wrath out on them. But when you’ve come face to face with your great need and have experienced the transforming love and forgiveness of your merciful Father, the goal is that you also begin to look through the mercy lens on the other side.
As we go into all the world, are we generously and intentionally sharing His love with others – even our enemies?
God is the pursuer of hearts, and throughout history, He has chosen some of the most unlikely people to make His name known. Why? So that through Mercy Himself, a lost world may come to know His forgiveness and new life through faith.
“But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”
– Psalm 130:4-5
At His feet,
Friends, we would love your prayers and support! Love God Greatly is going to Germany! We are putting on a one-day women’s conference in Frankfurt, Germany open to ALL women in Europe as well as a two-day training intensive for our LGG European leaders and translators. 💕
One of our European translators said, “The training, as well as the community, is especially important because the “job” of a translator is very isolated and can be lonely and under attack. Through the training, we can share each other’s stories, see each other face to face and not only screen to screen. The training has to fit the country, meaning: Europe is very different than the US, has different challenges and cultural backgrounds.”
Please share the information below and tell your friends in Europe about our upcoming conference! We would love to meet them!💗
Click here to find out more about our upcoming women’s conference!