17 Meanwhile, the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17, Common English Bible).
For Jonah and the boat crew, the storm raged around them. When you are in the wind, rain, and waves, in a small boat, fear can become a constant companion. The waves splash into the boat. When one wave crashes the wind blows another onto the boat and it starts over again as the rain pelts your face and drenches you from head to toe.
Such is what Jonah and the crew faced. And, Jonah knew what and where the problem was. He was the problem and it was all because of God’s anger because Jonah ran from the will of God. Jonah was responsible for the crew’s plight because of the decisions he made. But, that isn’t the point of this post.
Jonah tells the crew that he was the root of the problem and to calm the seas they needed to throw him over the side. The seas calmed and the crew was safe.
But, while the storm may have come to an end, Jonah was still in the midst of the storm. Now, far from shore and surrounded by water he is about to have an even bigger problem than he had while on the ship. Perhaps he was already having that problem. Maybe he was about to go down for the third time and his life was passing in front of his eyes.
The one thing he probably never thought would happen was, he became fish bait. No, he wasn’t shark bait, he was fish bait, divine fish bait. That was the bad news.
There was, however, some good news. Along with the storm God sent some grace and it came from an unexpected place. When Jonah had the crew throw him over the side (sorry, that is some of my Navy vernacular coming out) he probably never expected to survive. I don’t think he expected to be eaten by a huge fish (Yes fish, not a whale. I looked at every English version of the Bible on Bible Gateway and all but one used some kind of adjective for big and fish except the International Standard Version which said, huge sea creature. In fairness, the ancients would probably have seen a whale as a huge fish).
At least to my way of thinking, Jonah never saw the fish coming. He was swallowed up in a single bite and before he could figure out what was going on he was in the belly of the fish. How could he have seen it coming?
But, that is grace. When Jonah needed it most, God provided a life-raft, a living life-raft. Jonah, as he sits in the belly of the fish, probably wouldn’t have seen this as grace. Still, God provided a way when there was no other way.
That, at least to me, is grace. Even in the midst of the storm, God can provide a way.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved