Some words of comfort from the prophet Jonah, for goalkeeper Loris Karius, after the catastrophic errors that led to Liverpool’s defeat in the Champions League final on 26thMay 2018. No doubt Karius can sympathise with Jonah when from the belly of the fish he said, ‘I have been banished from your sight… the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountain I sank down.’
Like Jonah, Karius finds himself in a very lonely place, the place where from time to time we all find ourselves when we’ve made some huge mistake and there’s literally no one else to blame. The shame and disappointment we feel is unbearable.
The question is whether there’s a way back from such mistakes and the story of Jonah reminds us that there is. Despite his failure the third chapter of Jonah begins triumphantly, ‘The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.’
It’s a sentiment echoed in the New Testament in the Apostle Paul’s description of God’s perfect love that ‘keeps no record of wrongs’. The Bible declares that forgiveness and restoration are always possible, no matter how big the mistake.
So let’s hope that Karius like Jonah will not be defined by his mistake, but set free to fulfil his potential.