The story of Jonah continues to entertain, inspire and puzzle me…
God tells Jonah to preach in Nineveh. Jonah runs away and escapes on a boat. A storm comes. Jonah confesses that he has caused the storm. He is thrown overboard and is swallowed by a great fish.
Knowing what he ought to do Jonah runs in the opposite direction.
Friends are facing cancer, mental illness and family conflict. Children and elderly relatives bring challenges. Old wounds resurface. We don’t want to face the problem or the difficult decision. We turn our back on it and try to escape.
Jonah’s prejudice against Nineveh is exposed. His identity and failure is exposed to the sailors.
Prejudices may hide under the surface but they can be exposed. Anonymity may be convenient. Exposing our motives, our background, our beliefs and our failings is extremely uncomfortable. Exposure may require a difficult confession…
Jonah has expectations of life, faith and justice. Instead he faces the problematic and unexpected – a difficult mission, a storm and a big fish.
Our expectations of our children, marriage, new job, retirement or health may be wholesome and good. Expectations are easily dashed. The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.
It seems that Jonah’s life has to be sacrificed to save the sailors.
We despair when our expectations are dashed and the storm is too big. We just want out. Others are better off without us. We feel that we are surplus to requirements and expendable.
God is always there – with a plan.
When we run away God is still there. When a storm comes God is there in the storm. When we are drowning God is there as we struggle to breathe.
God does the unexpected and bonkers, providing life and hope in a big fish!
Post Script Musing
This was a last minute change of plan – I read Jonah chapter 1 this morning and felt it had something to say to me. Sorry if it seems like a sermon!!