I had never considered studying Jonah as I mentioned in Fleeing God (Jonah Part 1). It is a pretty simple story, only 4 chapters. Many of us Christians might only think of Jonah and the Whale as a children’s story because who else could believe that Jonah was swallowed by a whale but children. It seems so impossible, but if we think it’s impossible, we are doubting Jesus.
He said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40
If Jesus discussed Jonah being swallowed by a whale with His followers, why do we pretend that it didn’t really happen the way He said it did? It’s not an allegory or symbolism. If we believe Jesus, then we must believe that it happened the way He said it did.
I also mentioned in Fleeing God that God told me that He brought me to Jonah because I am like him. The first time that I read it I realized, You are right; I have whined and run away from You many times.
But then I realized something surprising. Jonah has a pretty amazing relationship with God. Jonah knew God’s goodness so well that he knew God intended to save Nineveh, even as evil as they were. He was comfortable enough to complain to God, and God responded to all of his complaints and questions. God answered him. They have a surprisingly comfortable and intimate relationship.
God didn’t smite Jonah for asking questions, complaining, or running. God chased Jonah and insisted that he follow the path that was best for everyone, especially those in Nineveh.
I run from God and complain to Him often. But you know what? I talk to Him often. Daily when I hear from Him, I generally whine or complain rather than do something seemingly spiritual.
Someone once mentioned that the only difference between thinking and praying is that when you pray, you acknowledge God.
Remember that Psalm 3:6 says, In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will guide your path. How could we acknowledge Him in all our ways if we aren’t talking to Him all the time?
I’m very lazy, but when I’m am doing something, I like it to be an effective use of my time. If I’m thinking, I might as well be praying at the same time. If I’m thinking and praying all day, I’m talking to my creator and acknowledging Him. Is it possible to be any more logical than that?
So even though Jonah is understandably used to teach us what not to do, maybe we can take his personal relationship with God as something to do.
Lord, I am Jonah. I whine and run from Your will constantly. But thank You for chasing me and leading me back on the path that you have set for me. Thank You for caring for me so much that You throw storms my way, just so I submit to Your calling and turn back to You. I ask You to freely give me consequences to remind me to stay on Your path. Lord, I desire to have a deeper and more intimate relationship with you so that I don’t run quite so often. Please turn my complaining into praise. Amen.