Consider this for a moment. God told Jonah to go right. Jonah purposefully and with fore thought, purchased a ticket and went in the complete opposite direction. While he was in complete disobedience people (before Jonah went where God sent him) people repented and made vows to Jonah’s God.
Two lessons from this:
1. The gifts and calls of God are without repentance. Jonah was an unwilling evangelist. Even though he ran from God, He was still used by God to unwittingly bring people to God.
A few years ago, a songwriter for a popular ministry wrote a song that was powerful. The problem was he faked cancer to help promote the song. When this became known, many people stopped listening to the song but I believe, even in his deception, God used him to write a powerful song. God spoke to this young man because that was the calling on his life. The person was flawed, the song was beautiful.
God used Jonah while he was fleeing.
2. God is redemptive. Just because God used Jonah in Tarshish, doesn’t mean it was God’s will for him to go to Tarshish. Just because God can bring good things out of sickness, lack, injustice, does not mean He is the author of these bad things. It just means He is redemptive – He brings beauty out of ashes, restoration out of ruins.
So, my friends, if you feel as if God can’t use you because you’ve made a mistake, walked away from His calling, take heart. You may have walked away from God, but God has not walked away from you. The gifts and callings on your life are still there. Like, Jonah, He is using you where you are while gently nudging to a place of obedience.
“Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, 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. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.”
Jonah 1:13-16 NIV