Prophet Jonah, Russian Orthodox icon from first quarter of 18-th cen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ever wonder what Jonah thought about right before the great fish — the whale — swallowed him whole? Maybe: “How dare my shipmates throw me overboard!” or “Where is God now?” or “I’m going to drown!” or “This creature’s going to eat me!” Do you suppose he was fine with his situation? I doubt it.
I imagine Jonah was filled with fear even though he was resigned to his fate — after all, he knew it was his fault that his shipmates were in danger. His running away from God’s will, from God’s expectations caused the storm that threatened the ship. He’d even told his shipmates to throw him into the sea. Nevertheless, he may have been surprised as he was tossed overboard and as he struck the waters below.
I can’t imagine that he was not afraid as the great fish swam towards him, opening its maul to swallow him. Once inside, Jonah was stuck there for three days and three nights. He was distressed! He was probably depressed, lonely, defeated. After all, he was “banished from [God’s] sight.” (Jonah 2:4, NIV)
Yet, Jonah finds his faith even while inside a fish in the darkness. He prays, “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, to Your holy temple.” (Jonah 2:7)
And God “brings [Jonah’s] life up from the pit.” (Jonah 2:6) The great fish vomits Jonah onto dry land at God’s command.
Help us, Lord to face our fears, to believe in Your goodness and to hold fast to our faith even in dire circumstances. Help us to obey You in all things at all times. In Jesus’ Name, amen.