“But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.” (Jonah 1:17–2:1, NIV84)
Think for a minute of all the major religions that you have some knowledge of. Does any one of them speak of a God who would rescue a man who was being downright disobedient to His command? Does any one of those religions speak of a God who loves the unlovable? Only the God of the Bible reveals Himself to be long-suffering, merciful and gracious to sinners. Because He cannot deny Himself, He loves us unilaterally and unconditionally. Hence, Jonah is rescued (and not barbecued) by God. This was not only good news for Jonah, but it is good news for us, as well. God loves us because of who He is and because we are His children. We cannot earn, nor do we deserve, such love from God. But we get it anyway. This is what makes our God good! And great!
So, the very God who gave Jonah life provided for him as he grew up as a child and made sure that he was touched by His Word, later provided salvation for His disobedient child. God provided a great fish to swallow Jonah. Now I know that many people say this event can’t be real because it borderlines the unbelievable. My questions to all of you are: Isn’t it unbelievable to have faith in a God who would send His very own Son into the world to die for a wicked and despicable people? Isn’t it unbelievable that Jesus would heal the sick, feed the hungry, walk on water, and rise from the dead? Isn’t it unbelievable that God would care enough for Jonah that He would cause a storm to brew and a big fish to do His bidding? If the answer to all of those questions is yes, then I guess it would be unbelievable to think that God could love me so much that He would move my life as a teenager to go to a Christian high school where He would pursue me with His love and grace and make me born again by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we just have to let God be God. He can do what He wants, as He wants. On this day he caused a great fish to swallow (but not consume) Jonah. And for three days, Jonah contemplated the grace and mercy of a God who provides redemption and protection even for the disobedient. So, what did Jonah do? He prayed! Good idea! Let’s do the same. God has provided us redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Let’s spend some time praying to the God who graciously provides for our physical and spiritual lives.