2 Ways God's Plan Works in Spite of Us

Parenting is so eye opening. Every day I get to watch up close the decisions that 4 different people are making. I watch the wheels spin as they think through right and wrong. 

The other day, Mabel (3) to really mad at the TV. She was pressing the remote and the TV wasn’t responding how she thought it should. Her response wasn’t all that different than many of ours! She threw the remote at the TV, shattering the screen.

All day long, the 4 of them make both good and bad choices. But regardless of good or bad, my love for them never wavers. Not when Mabel breaks the TV, not when they fight, nor when they disobey. Jeff and I always tell them, “We are for you! We will always be for you! No matter what happens, we will always be for you!”

Even when you throw a remote at the TV.

We will aways be for for you, always here to guide you, teach you, help you to turn in the right direction.

God gave Jonah a mission to give his enemy a warning. He was supposed to warn them that God would destroy them if they did not repent and change their ways. Jonah wanted no part in God’s plan, he thought his enemies deserved to be destroyed. 

Jonah shows us 2 ways God’s plan works in spite of us.

1. God redeems our mistakes.

When Jonah and the sailors are out on the water, a storm begins to brew. The sailors are terrified, praying to their gods while Jonah is sound asleep below deck. Nothing seems to calm the storm. Finally, they ask Jonah where he’s from and when they find out, they ask him what they need to do.

Jonah has them throw him overboard, and immediately the water calms. Te sailors’ lives are spared. The text tells us that the sailors offered sacrifices and made vows before God. Why?

Jonah was a terrible witness to God. God had given him a mission, and he ran from it. He abandoned his nation and his people. He was running as far away from God as he could, and yet God used the situation to save and covert a group of pagan sailors.

God can redeem all things. It’s amazing how God can take our mistakes, our failures, our pain, our grief and transform it for his glory. There are times when we end up in situations and places that we should have never gone.

There are times when our consequences even bring us into unions and roles that maybe we entered or pursued or were brought on for the wrong reasons. Maybe because we were disobedient. Maybe because we ignored God’s plan. Maybe we were working against God’s plan. God can redeem it. God can use anything to bring glory to himself.

God can redeem your pain, your mistakes and your failures.

2. God pursues us.

This is why Jonah isn’t about a fish or a moral lesson. Jonah isn’t about what happens to the disobedient. Jonah is about how God pursues us, no matter how far we run ,or how hard we work to mess up God’s plan.

Jonah 1 and 2 are a series of “down” and “deep” verbs. 

He went down to Joppa (1:3)
Jonah had gone below deck
where he lay down
and fell into a deep sleep (1:5)
From deep in the realm of the dead (2:2)
You hurled me into the depths (2:2)
the deep surrounded me (2:5)
To the roots of the mountains I sank down (2:6)

As Jonah sings his song from the belly of the fish he says, “But you Lord, my God, brought my life up from the pit.”

God did not send a fish to punish Jonah, but to save Jonah.

God is faithful to us, even when we are not faithful. God is pursuing us even when we are unworthy of being pursued. God’s plan is still moving forward, still working, even when we are working against it.

God loves his children, more than I love my children.

God isn’t confined to a geographical place. God is the creator of the world. God is everywhere. God is even where you are. God is pursuing you, wherever you’ve wandered, and drawing you back. God is moving you towards his plan.

Our mistakes, our failures, our pain, can all be redeemed. God’s plan carries on whether we’re working with him or against him. We can drag our heels, run away and refuse to join in.

All the while, God is for us. Loving us. Rooting for us. Desiring what is best for us. And God wants us to be a part of what he’s doing. Of course God can accomplish everything in spite of us, but he’d rather accomplish it with us. He invites us to be a part of what he’s doing. He invites us to join in. He’s gifted us and designed us so that we have something unique to contribute to the project.

May you lean into God’s plan, may you willingly bear witness to God’s glory and may you share in the work that God is doing in the world.

*This post is based on a sermon I preached on Jonah. Listen to it here: