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13th October 2012
I read something along these lines on Twitter today: "If all your prayers from the last 30 days were answered, would anything change in the world, or just your world?"
Challenging, isn't it? It's pretty obvious that Jonah wasn't thinking globally, and it's easy for us to restrict our vision to just our immediate needs, our circle of friends and family, or even the borders of our town or just the people we like. But God's compassion extends to the farthest corners of the world – and no people group is excluded because He's out to save people of every nation, tribe and tongue.
In The Jonah Complex, Greg Haslam asks: "Is there anyone in our thinking who is beyond God's mercy?" Here is a summary of a challenging story from Greg's book:
Notorious American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was convicted of viciously torturing and mutilating at least 11 kidnapped victims, resorting to necrophilia and cannibalism. He was completely cold and expressionless during his trial, voicing no remorse or repentance for his actions. The jury and public hated him and wanted him to face the electric chair, but instead he was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
A few years into that term, Dahmer was visited by Christians who, over a period of time, helped him to see the corruption of his soul through his early exposure and subsequent addiction to pornography. Dahmer deeply repented of his former life and came to believe in Jesus Christ as the only one who could reverse his depravity and save him. He became a Christian and was baptised. Later, he went public with his new perspectives on his crimes in the sincere and strong hope of deterring others from ever repeating them.
The surprising news of his conversion became widely known and vilified as a cheap shot to elicit public sympathy. The media went into a frenzy of protest and angry reports. One striking headline asked: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS OUTRAGE?
And the answer, of course, is God! It was God's idea to save Jeffrey Dahmer.
This story of one of the world's worst and most cold-blooded killers and the questions it inevitably arouses, might well cause us all to think of the possibility that a Jonah may lurk somewhere in the hidden recesses of each of our hearts...
Readings: Jonah 3; Romans 9:15-26
Question: How do you react to the story of Jeffrey Dahmer?
Next prayer meetings: Tomorrow, 7am at THC and 7pm at The George in Rye
Posted by Natalie Williams