We enjoyed spring teasing us with 70 degrees on Saturday...only to be followed by two days of cold rain. One very disappointed little boy said sadly from the backseat, "It's pouwing down wain again...I'm never gonna get to pway outside." So it was off to Kid's Cove to cure the rainy-day-blues.
I can understand the confusion - there's a giant Whale AND an Ark - but E kept referring to it as "Jonah's Ark." I questioned him at home to make sure he knew the two different stories. "Yes, but mom...this is a second story I made up called Jonah's Ark." Okay. At least I knew he knew the difference.
A second story. A second chance. A God whose loving kindness is better than life itself. A gift of grace, mercy and redemption to never leave us or be finished with us. It caused me to look deeper into Jonah's story.
From inside the fish, having disobeyed God and now sitting in the pit of consequences he'd found himself in, Jonah cries out:
In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From the depths of the grave
I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
I've been in the depths of that pit, sometimes one I've dug for myself. I've been in distress. I know the reality of being face-to-face with the depravity of your situation and knowing ONLY GOD can get you out of it. And what does God do?
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time... Jonah 3:1
God listened. He heard his cry. He answered even when Jonah thought his life was done. God redeemed Jonah's life. God gave him a second chance.
It's a chance at a second story. It's a new opportunity to do what God has called you to do. It's a beginning with new perspective having been rescued from the belly of uncertainty. It's the redemption story of God, in His perfect loving kindness, looking upon us with undeserved mercy and - inspite of ourselves and despite what we've done - coming to us a second time.
New beginnings. Grace. Forgiveness. Mercy. Redemption. I'm thankful God has never left me in the pits or bellies I've landed myself in. I'm so thankful for second stories.