Youth - September 2016
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September 2016

Jonah 2:1-4 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
3 For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me.
4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’

Have you ever made a mistake? As our students prep for another year of school, no doubt they have some expectations. What friends will they have or make in their classes? Will they like their teachers? Will they make the team or get that part or earn that role? Yet as they let the excitement of all those possibilities flood their minds perhaps they haven't considered all the ways they might fail this year. Even though we can expect to fail as we learn and grow, the truth is that we don't really prepare for what we're going to do when we do fail.

Many times in our lives, we choose to allow failures (though we are all very experienced in them) to surprise us. And unfortunately the way we usually respond to failure leads us into more destructive patterns. We try to hide our failure with lies or we project our frustrations upon others. We don't allow God to discipline us so that we might learn from our mistakes. We run away from God when He wants to heal us of the effects of our mistakes.

Jonah prayed this prayer after a moment of intense failure of character. Though he was a prophet called by God, He had been disobedient and failed to do what God wanted him to do. In his despair (and disobedience to God eventually ends in despair) he remembered God's mercy to all of us "failures". If God desired to show the Ninevite "failures", He would surely desire to be merciful to the "failure" Jonah. Jonah remembered that God is patient and slow to anger with those who humble themselves.

As we head into the Fall, we can be sure that at some point we may fail God, our loved ones, or ourselves. I pray that at those times we would have the courage to turn our eyes to God in prayer that He might take our failures upon Himself. As we expect failures let us not forget Proverbs 24:16, "The righteous (person) falls seven times but gets up."

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