Read Jonah 2:10. Jonah completely ‘bottomed out’ before this unforeseen reversal and upturn in his fortunes. It was an end, but it wasn’t a dead end! Jonah may have gone AWOL and ‘died’ in exile, but there’s always the element of surprise with God. It says, ‘The LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah unto dry land’. And more wonderfully still, ‘The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time (3:1). This is not just a ‘resurrection’, this is a ‘re-commission’! Every conversion is a new beginning, including the conversion of a prophet. He may have become no more than fish-bait and fish-vomit in the eyes of men, but to God he’s all God’s got. Within three days he is back on dry land, all eyes and all ears once again. This ‘Third day’ newness is there all through the Bible. Jonah himself is now an amazing ‘sign’ to Nineveh, a sign that God can forgive people, so they can begin again. A sign of third-day resurrection. God’s prophet is back from the dead!

The essence of all effective ministry lies in this: ‘The word of the Lord came to Jonah.’ What else can we offer to lost people? What else is there that works? That Jonah received this once, is a sign of God’s grace. That it came ‘a second time’ is a sign of God’s immense love, and of our amazing privilege after our backsliding! Jonah had been de-commissioned, when he ‘forfeited the grace that could have been his.’ (2:8b) Now he is being re-commissioned! Jonah not only knew what he’d been saved from, he now knew what he’d been saved for! Do you?

Have you ever thought you’ve lost your gifts and ministry, only to discover that God gave them back to you again some time later? This is a good way to discover two very important things: (1) It is not your ministry it is His, and he can take it away whenever he wants (2) It really is your ministry, for God gave it to you and wants you to deploy it. You don’t have to fight to keep it. Even if it’s stolen God will make sure you get it back. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. No one can ‘save’ their ministry if they are not meant to have it in the first place, and no one can ‘lose’ it if they are meant to have it! With God, we get knocked down, but we are not knocked out.

Thank God for the grace of ‘The Perseverance of the Saints’, which is God’s perseverance in, and preservation of, our wayward lives. He does not give up on us, and he never will (Prov.24:16)!