Next Wednesday, Pastor Syd and I will be heading to Darwin with a group of our senior students for this year’s mission trip. While we are there students will have opportunities to share God’s love in the local community as they both teach and serve.
Each year we tailor our program around a theme, story, or book of the Bible and this year our students have chosen the book of Jonah.
Despite being an extremely cool story, the book of Jonah contains many lessons that continue to resonate with us today.
After being called by God to deliver a message to the people of Nineveh, a city known for its wickedness, Jonah decides to flee in the opposite direction onboard a ship bound for Tarshish.
Showing Jonah he can run from God but he can’t hide, God sends a big storm that causes everyone onboard the boat to fear for their lives. Jonah manages to convince the crew to throw him overboard in order to save themselves.
Despite his disobedience, God doesn’t abandon Jonah. Instead, he provides a great fish to swallow him. After three days and nights have passed, the fish delivers Jonah safely to dry land.
When Jonah finally obeys God’s command to preach in Nineveh, the people all turn to God and seek his forgiveness. As a result of the Ninevites turning from their wickedness, God shows them compassion, forgiving them and withholding His judgment from them.
Jonah becomes angry with God for showing love and compassion toward them because he doesn’t believe they deserve it.
The book of Jonah encourages us to heed God’s call and obey him with a willing heart. We learn that our disobedience doesn’t just impact us but also the lives of those around us and like God we too should extend compassion and forgiveness to all we encounter on our journey.
It is easy to become so comfortable in our own lives that we stop caring about others. Luckily for us, God never stops caring. He loves us regardless of what others think, he doesn’t care about our background or past choices and his mercy is available to us if we are willing to ask for his forgiveness and follow him. In the same way, God provided the fish to save Jonah from himself, God provided Jesus to save us.
As we deliver this message of hope to the people of Darwin we would appreciate your prayers. I look forward to sharing our experiences and photos from the trip with you upon our return.
Donna Newell, Secondary Pastor