ALL IS NOT LOST Andy Hollifield 10-3-17
Jonah 1:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god,….
Jonah 1:16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.
Have you ever been in a situation that you felt like was completely hopeless? I have, and I can remember asking God, “What good can possibly come out of this?” You know that Romans 8:28 says that “…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” That sounds real good doesn’t it?……until you are the one living it. Until you are the one that is in a place where you can’t see any possible good that can come from the situation you are in. We can quote the verse just fine for a brother or sister that is going through trials but believe me, it is a lot smoother coming out than it is going in. It is a lot easier to spit it out to someone else but it goes down a lot harder when you’re the one having to swallow it. “In every thing give thanks: “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). That verse along with Romans 8:28 are two of the most encouraging verses you could ever ask for. First, just to know that God is watching in all things and has a plan for your life and it will always be for your long-term good, brings a peace all its own. But, the second part is where it gets hard; giving thanks for those things in your life that are bad or difficult, or hurt.
I know I use those verses a lot in my writing but if we will all admit it, we struggle with those verses when the world is trying to beat down our door. When everything is going wrong and the bills come due but there’s no money, it’s hard to see how that is all supposed to be for our good much less to thank God for it right in the middle of it. I suppose that was the predicament that Jonah found himself in about the time he hit the water that day out on the sea in that storm. I know he didn’t have the New Testament for a reference like we do. That fact alone probably made it even harder to think that God was working for his benefit. What he didn’t know, was that he missed the best part of the voyage after he got thrown overboard. If you notice in the verses above, those crewmen started calling for every man to call up on his god. By the time you get down to verse 16, they have already given up their gods and decided that Jonah’s God was to be feared and they offered sacrifice unto him.
I noticed that to begin with when I started reading this passage was that the crew apparently believe on God based on what Jonah had told them. They had a meeting, probably celebrating the fact they had survived. The sad part is that Jonah probably never knew that because he had already been tossed overboard. Let’s get this straight: Jonah was fleeing God’s presence, or so he thought, and was presumably the purpose behind the storm. After he get’s thrown overboard, the wind ceases and the rain stops and all is calm. For a backslid preacher, I guess that’s all pretty good. You flee from God, the sailors you are with get saved and immediately start worshipping. Do you reckon that if Jonah had of been obedient to the Lord, he likely would not have been on that boat and they wouldn’t have seen the storm cease and probably would not have gotten in a storm to begin with.
My point in all of this is that no matter what your situation, God will do something when he gets ready but you may miss out on the blessing if you allow a root of bitterness to spring up in you. Just as Joseph told his brothers down in Egypt, “…you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good,…” Wherever you are in your life right now, God is wanting to get glory out of that seemingly hopeless situation. It may be uncomfortable for a while but just ask him for grace and he will give it to you. If God can fix the mess that Jonah created, he can fix yours. God wound up saving a whole city because they repented and apparently a few soldiers because they also believed on him. If you have a messed up situation in your life, rest assured that “all is not lost”. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!