I’m sure that we remember Jonah, who, although fictional, is one of my favorite biblical characters.  Jonah found peace in a rather strange place- the belly of a whale. But before we chuckle, we should take a moment to reflect on the rather odd places where we have either found or have attempted to find peace, albeit a peace that was at best only temporary.  You see Jonah had sinned against God.  God called him to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, but he hopped onto the first boat going in the opposite direction because Jonah hated the Ninevites. But then a great storm erupted, as storms do erupt when we try to run from God, and Jonah had himself, thrown overboard so that his shipmates might be saved.  That’s where the whale enters the scene and rescues him. Inside the whale, Jonah was basically able to go on retreat: he offered praise and thanksgiving to God and repented for his disobedience. He found a kind of peace, but only for a while.  But what about the Ninevites?  They were still there, and they still needed to be saved, they needed to be set free of their slavery to sin.  If his story ended here we would not be talking about Jonah today.  After Jonah repented, the whale immediately spewed him out onto dry land and God once again called him to go to Nineveh.  This time he went and the Ninevites were saved.  So Jonah went off and lived happily ever after, right?   Wrong!!! He cursed God and climbed the nearest mountain from where could watch the city and prayed to God to destroy the city.  Remember he hated the Ninevites. Also he lamented the intense heat and thought he was going to die because of it.  So God raised up for him a large plant that he used for shade and Jonah found relief-but only for a while.  The plant quickly shriveled up and died and Jonah once again cursed God-this time for destroying the plant. Now this is where God steps in and teaches him a lesson. God points out to him that Jonah’s priorities were way off.  He cared more about the silly plant than the thousands of Ninevites who desperately needed the message given them.  So, aren’t we thankful, that we are not like Jonah since of course we have all our priorities lined up with the will of God and cheerfully live our lives accordingly?


AuthorCathy Remick