Jonah finally prayed to the Lord His God from the stomach of the fish. The first part of his prayer is the following, "He said, I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me! You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves. Then I said, 'O Lord, you have driven me from your presence. Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple (Jonah 2:2-4).'" When Jonah prayed to God from the stomach of the fish, he hit the very bottom of his life, and the only thing he could do was look up to God. His situation is similar to Jesus' parable of the lost son, where the younger son left with his inheritance, and when he lost all of his money, he returned to his father broken.
Jonah thought God banished him because of his rebellion, but he didn't realize that God had been pursuing Him to return to Him. When we sin against God, we often feel He hates or rejects us completely. However, God is grieved when we sin, but He never left nor forsaken us. God rejoices every time we repent because He loves and cares about us. He knows that the only thing that sin does to us is to lead us to despair, sorrow, and destruction. When Jonah realized his condition, he looked up to God and prayed, and God immediately listened to Him. The only thing that Jonah did to return to God and restore his relationship with Him was to pray. He didn't beat himself up to prove that he was repentant. God always looks at our hearts to see if we are really repentant.
Our God is a loving, gracious, and merciful God. We can always go back to Him when we sin. God loves us so much that He will do anything to bring us back to Him. And when we hit the bottom of our lives, He will always be there to rescue us and lead us back to the right path. The only way back to our restoration is to return to Him. We can never outrun the grace of God in our lives. He is always there to accept us the moment we pray to Him.
Ask yourself these questions for application: (Think through carefully and meditate on the questions while answering them, and let the Spirit of God speak to you) How does God feel when I sin? What should I do to restore my relationship with God? Why is it important to repent of my sins?
Write down all the worries you face today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, I acknowledge that you are a loving, gracious, and merciful God. Please forgive my sins and restore me. I want to follow and obey you, for your ways are better than mine. Your ways bring life, but sin only brings despair and sorrow. Thank you for your forgiveness and for restoring me to Yourself. In your name Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen.