Y’all, today is Thanksgiving Sunday. Wherever you are in the journey of life, I hope you’ve got some reasons to give thanks and praise to God. But even if you’ve got some things, some barriers, getting in the way of your giving thanks and praise to God, even if it’s still raining for you, I hope God’s message delivered to the exiled Judeans through the prophet Jeremiah gives you reason to give thanks and praise to God, even amidst the barriers. Because whatEVER difficulties you’re facing in life, God is there to face them with you and to give you comfort and strength in their midst. And whatEVER difficulties you’re facing in life, even if you’ve been facing them for a long time with no relief at all, God STILL has plans for you, “plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”
As much as I like a good fish tale, I hope when you hear the name “Jonah” in the future or think of his story, your mind will wander to something more than fish, more than Jonah. I hope your mind will wander to a God who calls you to do sometimes surprising things (by human standards, anyway); a God who journeys with you, even when you try to run in the opposite direction; a God whose love is extraordinary…even when we’re least deserving of it.