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"Now Nineveh was an enormously large city." —Jonah 3:3
Picture the president of the United States dressed not in a fine suit but covered with sackcloth, and sitting not at a conference table but in a pile of ashes (Jon 3:6). Imagine the members of the Congress and Senate dressed also in sackcloth and sitting in ashes. Picture the whole country — both man and beast — covered with sackcloth and sitting in ashes (Jon 3:8). Imagine no one eating or drinking anything, and the animals complaining accordingly (Jon 3:7-8). What a scene! What noise! What repentance! What grace and mercy!
The repentance of 120,000 people came about through the prophetic message of the reluctant, vindictive prophet, Jonah. This mass repentance by the Ninevites shows that the Lord can do anything. He can change the hardest hearts — even hundreds of thousands of the hardest hearts — and do it in one day through a person who doesn't even want people to repent and be saved.
Even if we've never seen mass repentance and can think of a thousand obstacles to God's grace, the Lord can surprise us, especially in the worst of circumstances. Expect the Lord to do the impossible this Lent. Expect the world to be surprisingly transformed this Lent. His grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9).
Prayer: Father, do internationally and locally what I've never dreamed possible.
Promise: "Have mercy on me, O God, in Your goodness; in the greatness of Your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me." —Ps 51:3-4
Praise: Maria follows the promptings of the Holy Spirit and prays for the conversion of China.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on The Secret of Confession on audio AV 44-3 or video V-44.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009
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