Read Jonah 1:8-16. Even pagan sailors displayed more religious passion to avert God’s wrath than Jonah did! Sometimes their earnest piety, searching, hard work, and self-discipline in prayer challenge our lack of it. They have hopes for a better life – ‘Maybe God will take notice of us and we will not perish.’ (v.6b) Every Friday in mosques all over the land, floors are filled with rows of praying men bowed in fear to Allah. Can we get similar numbers of men to a prayer meeting in our churches? Probably not! This ‘Call of the World’ rebukes the church. Be humble and listen. This may be God’s voice we are hearing!

There are 3 types of people in the world (1) Those who make things happen (2) Those who watch things happen and (3) Those who wonder what on earth is happening! Jonah went from making things happen, to a man who wondered what was happening! Years ago I knew a man who was saved in the 1950’s. He was small, but was such a zealot that he hung around pubs and clubs waiting for drunks to come out to tell them of their need of a Saviour. Years later he had separated form his wife, divorced, became a gambler, damaged the faith of all his children, and was now a barman in those very same clubs! He had totally ‘lost the plot’ spiritually speaking. Like a ‘Jonah’!

But Jonah was eventually ‘found out’! (v.7) No matter how long you drift, or how determined you are to stay lost, God will find you! Here was an international lottery for the culprit. And Jonah’s number came up (v.7)! He wasn’t the winner, he was the LOSER. Prov.16:33 says, ‘The lot is cast in the lap but its every decision is from the Lord.’ It wasn’t by chance but by choice he was found – God’s choice! People say things like ‘You seem to know a lot about the Bible’, ‘I think you should go back to church, you were a lot more pleasant to live with then’, ‘You’re really touchy about religion aren’t you?’ God uses this to restore backsliders on the run from God. When we lose God, we lose our true identity too. Jonah was suffering from amnesia, and needed shock treatment to recover his memory. The reason we keep preaching the same Bible is because we have a tendency towards ‘collective amnesia’, and we forget who we are.

Backsliders not only have to admit the truth to God, they admit it to themselves. If that’s you, know God wants you back home. So do we!