So there’s Jonah, trying to flee from God. How desperate and out of his mind is he to think He could flee God’s presence? He was a man of God, he knew this was really not an option. So God needed to do something major, something drastic to get Jonah’s attention and snap him out of his selfishness. Enter ‘the whale’.
Now depending on your theology and your interpretation of the Bible, you may or may not believe that there was an actual, physical whale that swallowed Jonah. And honestly, I don’t really think it maters if you see it as real or symbolic when it comes to the purpose and meaning of the story. (Side bar: my personal belief is that he was lost at sea for 3 days under a whale shaped constellation but anywho…) The point is that God needed to get Jonah’s attention in a major way. He needed him to be in a place where he was face to face with himself and with God to work it all out. Sound familiar? I think we have all had those situation.
I know in my life there has been times when God needed to do something drastic to pull me back in or help me to refocus on His plan for my life. One certain time that comes to mind is when I finally answered His call to become a nurse. He had placed it on my heart for several years and I kept making excuses and doubting myself. Still, that pull was always there. I made every excuse in the book not to pursue it. Then one November my husband lost his job. Ok God, got it!! And off to nursing school I went. It was hard, so hard, but it has been one of the biggest blessing in my life to be a nurse. And that job my husband lost? Nothing compared to what he is doing now. Dang it, God, you do always know what is best!! It’s our dang stubbornness that gets in the way. I feel like that was my ‘in the whale’ moment. God needed to do something big to get my attention and get me back on track just like He did with Jonah.
I’m sure we can all recall times when God has done something drastic like this. When He has put us in situations that make us stop, come to Him, and get back on track. At the time, it may seem like the worst thing in the world but when you trust in Him and go with it, you’ll look back you realize it all went the way it was supposed to.
I bet this meant Jonah was good to go and never screwed up or got it wrong again, right? Ha! Wrong. Just like us, this feeling of closeness to God and sense of purpose did not last. Seems like we drift back away and God has to reel us back in time after time.