“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 1:14-16
I wonder if Jonah ever went back to tell his story to the sailors who threw him overboard—you know, after the whole begrudging-the-Ninevites-their-salvation thing. (See Jonah 4:1.) According to Jonah 1:14-16, those sailors were scared, grieved, distraught. Even after they had done all they could to get back to land without throwing Jonah overboard and knowing that this action alone would save their lives, they were sorry for resorting to that action. They probably could have used some serious counseling.
The Bible doesn’t tell us what became of Jonah after that little worm killed his shade plant. (See Jonah 4.) But I hope he came around, let God adjust his bitter attitude, and then paid a visit to the folks God used to set Jonah on the right course to begin with. Those sailors deserved to know that Jonah lived to tell his story.
Can you imagine the blessing of learning that God had used you, in spite of yourself, your beliefs, your desires, and your ideas of what was best, in order to set up a monster-sized fish miracle—and to save a whole nation of people to boot?! Those sailors may or may not have ever known the part they played in God’s plan. Likewise, we may or may not know until we reach Heaven some of the parts we’ve played in God’s plan. But, when we realize that God has used someone else to bring us or someone we love around to His way of thinking, if at all possible, I think, we should go back to let them know.
- Who has God used in His efforts to get or keep your life on course?
- What role did that person play in God’s plan?
- How did that person influence or encourage you?
- Where were you on your life journey at this point in time?
- Where are you now?
Make plans to tell the story to a relevant participant as soon as you can. If this person is a Christian, he or she will be encouraged to continue serving faithfully. If this person isn’t a Christian, God may use your story to draw this person to Him!
Father, help us remember to encourage and thank others as they become part of Your plan for the development of our spiritual lives. And thank You for making us part of Your plan for others, too, whether we ever learn of our role or not. You work all things together for good: for the glory of Your Kingdom and the growth of each citizen. We love You, Lord. Amen.