Sure, he was swallowed by a whale, or at the very least a great big fish. And yes, I know, after that he was vomited up on the beach by that same fish. Before that, it was the act of throwing him overboard that caused a great storm to cease. And of course, his proclaiming the word of God to the people of Nineveh was the catalyst for one of the greatest spiritual revivals in recorded history. A lot can be said about Jonah and the sensational story to be found in the Bible.
But if the spotlight is shifted away from the human character in the story and focused instead on His creator, a whole different story is waiting to be told. For Jonah was simply a pawn in this cosmic mission that God had in mind.
There is something great to be found about the character of God in this narrative. If anything, the book of Jonah shows us one main idea: the lengths that God is willing to go to accomplish His plan.
Jonah is completely unwilling and runs in the opposite direction. And the very people he was told to go to were the citizens of the capital city in the heart of the Assyrian Empire who had been the bitter enemies of the Israelites for hundreds of years. But the heart of God had a passion for this city, and that’s all that mattered.
When we, as Christians, wake up to the reality that when we allow God to author our lives, when we follow Him to the places He is calling us, that we have the backing of God as we go. Even though we are often called to new places or even places that make us fearful or uncomfortable, it is in those places that we can depend on the God who brought us there in the first place.
The beautiful yet incredibly humbling thing about the story of Jonah was that the character of Jonah really didn’t matter. Jonah simply obeyed and said what he was told to say, and that was it. And a great revival took place, because God not only sent him there but told him what to do and made everything happen.
We, too, can simply trust the Holy Spirit to guide us, to bring us to new places, to depend on Him for what to say and do, and then watch Him work. And it’s beautiful and humbling at the same time. When we finally come to terms that it is not dependent on us, we have a proper perspective of God, and it is ultimately freedom for us to strive to make something happen.