God Uses Screw-Ups

I was recently reading the Biblical book of Jonah.  You know Jonah...  the guy that got swallowed by the "great fish" (which we assume was a whale).  The whole reason Jonah was swallowed by a whale in the first place is because he wasn't where God wanted him to be.  God told him to go and preach to the people of Nineveh (arguably the first mission trip in Scripture).  But Jonah didn't want to, because the people of Nineveh were wicked, and Jonah didn't want them to repent.  We can imagine him saying, "They made their bed, now let them lie in it!"  (Of course, modern Christians are never like that.)  So Jonah hopped on a boat headed in the opposite direction of Nineveh.

You probably know the rest of the story.  God brought a storm upon the boat.  Upon investigation by the crew, it was (rightfully) determined that Jonah was the reason for the storm.  Jonah urged the men to throw him overboard, and they eventually (reluctantly) did so.  The storm calmed, and Jonah was swallowed by a whale where he spent the next three days wrapped in fish guts, before being vomited back up.

The thing that struck me in reading this story, that I had never noticed before, is that the crew of the ship, upon witnessing all the events described above, became followers of the true and living God.  (Jonah 1:16)  In other words, these men were reconciled to God as a direct result of Jonah's disobedience.  (Say whaaat?)  What are we to take from that?  I think this...

None of us follow God's perfect path for our life.  We are sinners.  We are screw ups.  Sometimes we take a side road that He did not intend for us.  Almost always this makes our life more difficult, complicated, and painful than it had to be.  The good news in this is two-fold:

1)  If we belong to Him, we will eventually end up where He wanted us all along.  Jonah eventually made it to Nineveh.  He just did it the hard way.  If you are God's child, you too will end up where He wants you one way or the other.  It's just a matter of time.  Will you do it the easy way or the hard way?

2)  And this is actually my main point in writing this blog...  God is so good that He can use even our screw ups for His glory.  Maybe (like Jonah) you're in a difficult place in life because of disobedience to God, or poor choices (read "sin") in your past.  Maybe you know in your heart that the position you currently find yourself in was not God's perfect plan for you.  That (like Jonah) you've made things much harder than they had to be.  But that doesn't mean your life is a waste, or that God can't use you!  Just as God used Jonah's poor choices to reveal Himself to the crew of the ship, God can use you right now, regardless of what you've done in your past!  He is so amazing that He can take a bad thing and turn it around for good.

God uses screw-ups.  I'm glad for that, aren't you?