Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.Jonah 3:1 (HCSB)
Today we reflect on something so simple but so profound. In the world of high stakes business, there are no second chances. If you fail to close the deal, you lose your job. On the battlefield, there are no second chances. If you don’t take the shot you are shot by the enemy. In the hospital operation theatre there are no second chances. If you mess up during the operation the patient dies.
But God is not an earthly business mogul. He is not an earthly soldier. He is not an earthly surgeon. No, God is a merciful Father who loves His adopted children. Jonah refused the Lord’s first call, he accepted it the second time. Sure there was a severe lesson in-between, but God is a loving God. What father does not discipline his children for their own good? Indeed, the author of Hebrews would have it that we should be worried if we are not disciplined by God at all. A father disciplines a child he loves, he ignores a child he doesn’t care about.
My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives. Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons…. But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons… God [disciplines us] for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.Hebrews 12:5-11 (HCSB)
I would ask you to read over those verses from Hebrews a few more times—meditate upon them. The Christian life has two great promises: we will be holy as the Lord is holy, but when we stumble and fall, His mercy and love will pick us up every single time.