One of the weirder stories in the bible. And yet every child knows it. and Jesus specifically mentions him. I mean what’s all that about being swallowed by a fish?
There was a talk today on Jonah in church. It was a bit all over the place but I enjoyed it as it set my imagination ticking. It’s astonishing that Jonah gripes at God. And the gripe is not like Job about injustice, nor is it like the drone of meaninglessness that the writer of Ecclesiastes moans about. Jonah gripes at God for who God is. That God is kind and compassionate. that’s his complaint!
O LORD! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing
And then he says he wants to die. Twice. and that he’s angry enough to die.
God does all kinds of things in this short book.
He causes a storm
He stops it
He gets a fish to swallow AND SAVE Jonah.
He gets the fish to vomit Jonah
He changes his mind about Nineveh
He makes a plant grow.
He gets a worm to eat the plant.
And through it all he argues with Jonah about his anger. Almost gently. Like convincing a 4 year old to forgive her 1 year old sister.
I wonder about my own anger. My anger against India. Bangalore. KMC. My former boss. Evangelicals. Is it right to be angry? No. But it’s there. Sitting quietly in the belly.