By Yvonne Ortega
Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practioner
When we struggle with addiction or any other challenge, we may say and do things we wouldn’t normally. We may choose to disobey God as Jonah did in the Old Testament.
When we run from God, we have preferred our will instead of God’s.
The storm will come as it did for Jonah. Our storm may not be a physical raging sea, but it could be raging emotions, a storm in our marriage, rebellious children, financial chaos, loss of a job, or foreclosure of our home.
If our children rebel, we don’t stop loving them. They can still turn to us, their parents, for love and support and we’ll give them both.
In the same way when we find ourselves discouraged or convicted about sin in our lives, we can turn to God. No matter what we’ve done, God loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
In speaking of God, 2 Peter 3:9 says, “He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (NIV).
The devil would have us believe God doesn’t care to hear from us after we’ve sinned. Yet Jeremiah 29:13-14 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and will bring you back from captivity” (NIV). That’s a promise to hang onto.
Perhaps we’ve been captive to alcohol, other drugs, pornography, sex, overeating, lying, or reckless spending. We don’t need to live the rest of our lives imprisoned by addictive behaviors. If we let him, God will “bring [us] back from captivity.”
The fish swallowed Jonah. Our poor choices may cause us to be swallowed up by trouble too. However, we can say as Jonah did, “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayers rose to you, to your holy temple” (Jonah 2:7 NIV).
God had asked Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the people to repent. Jonah wouldn’t do it. He didn’t want the Ninevites to repent and receive God’s mercy.
When Jonah repented of his disobedience, God didn’t tell Jonah what a fool he had been.
Instead Jonah 3:1-2 says, “Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time. ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you’” (NIV).
God gives each of us a mission. Maybe we don’t like what God asks us to do and refuse to obey God.
We have the opportunity to turn to God, admit our wrongdoing, ask for forgiveness, and start over. God gave Jonah and the Ninevites a second chance. He will do the same for us.
Jonah 3:10: “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened” (NIV).
Copyright © by Yvonne Ortega April 2, 2012
Yvonne Ortega is an eleven-year breast cancer survivor, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner, Clinically Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, and bilingual speaker. She is the author of Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer (Revell) and a contributing author to The Embrace of a Father(Bethany House) and Transformed (Wine Press). She has also been published in several magazines online and hard copy. Her website is http://www.yvonneortega.com/. Her blog on addiction and domestic violence is at http://www.yvonneortega.blogspot.com