God told Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh. He had clear instructions. He knew exactly what he was supposed to do, but Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh. Instead, he went the opposite direction. God said, "Go left." He went right. You would think God would say, "All right, Jonah. You're on your own. I'll go before you if you go to Nineveh, but good luck if you go the other way." Jonah got on a boat headed in the wrong direction and a huge storm arose.
Yes, there are consequences for going the wrong way, but that doesn't mean God won't help you. He's going to give you another chance and another and another. The boat Jonah was in was about to capsize. The sailors were all about to die. Jonah finally admitted that he was the cause of the storm. The sailors didn't think twice. They threw him overboard. Here was Jonah out in the middle of the ocean in a huge storm, no life jacket, no chance of survival. This should have been the end, but God doesn't abandon us when we make mistakes. God had already gone before Jonah in the wrong direction. He ordained for that big fish to swallow him up and spare his life.
Like Jonah, many of us would not be here if God had not gone before us when we were headed in the wrong direction. We brought the trouble on ourselves. It was nobody's fault except our own, but God in His mercy was there to help get us out.
I want you to have this assurance that you're not doing life by yourself. The Creator of the universe is going before you. He has you covered. You can lie down at night in peace, not just when you do everything right, but even when you make mistakes. You may think that you've blown it too many times, or you've gotten too far off course, but God isn't finished with you. You can try to outrun God, but you'll never be successful. God knows your next move. When you show up, He'll be right there, not to condemn you, but to help restore you and give you another chance. Jonah got back on course and went to Nineveh just as God had asked him. Today, you can get back on course and move forward in the perfect plan He has for you."…I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." (Isaiah 48:17, NIV)