This week my 20 year old daughter called me in the middle of the day, that’s a call I always take, she then shocked me by the reason for the call. “Daddy, this manager at worked asked me: you don’t really believe all that stuff in the Bible, like, how about the story of Jonah and the whale, you don’t really believe someone could live after being swallowed by a fish for three days? Daddy he was sincere and I said, yes, of course I do, but I really didn’t know what to say, it made me feel kinda bad, I didn’t have a better answer, because he was sincere.”
For all sorts of reasons this conversation touched my heart in a good way, yet, naturally the next question is, “what would you say?” I mean that as a question to you the reader; what would you say? I really have thought about it for 3 days, that’s how long by the way, Jonah was in there and the more I have processed and sought others with the question the more amazing it gets. Yet the really cool question I think is: what did Jesus mean when he said a number of times, ” an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the … seeks a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah “? What was the sign of Jonah? Most would say it was three days in the tomb and resurrected, yes, I love that but I think there is more.
At a Bible Study Thursday morning a good friend shared that the people of Nineveh worshiped a fish God, so Jonah’s street cred went up drastically with this fish story, I have also herd that others who have been swallowed by fish were bleached white and lost all hair, so this may also have added to Jonah’s street cred. My friend also shared that Jonah had led one of the biggest and fastest revivals in the history of the world. AHA, that could be the sign Jesus was referring to, perhaps the largest revival of gentiles, EVER, and right under the Judgemental Jew’s Noses, again.
If you re-read the story and its well worth it, there are so many, Jonah had a phenomenal conversational intimacy with God. Jonah by the way was no poser, he told God exactly what was on his mind, kinda like, Cain.
“It is,” he said, “I am angry enough to die!”
10 But Adonai said, “You have pity on the plant for which you did no labor or make it grow, that appeared overnight and perished overnight. So shouldn’t I have pity on Nineveh—the great city that has in it more than 120,000 people who don’t know their right hand from their left—as well as many animals?”
There are so many signs here its phenomenal. “My sheep hear my voice”, you bet we do, I believe Jonah was enjoying a prayer life that was beyond cool and what Jesus did made a way for us to have that. Jonah had a bad attitude it would appear, as did Cain, but God still spoke to them, it couldn’t be clearer. To me one of the coolest signs here is that God is hanging out with a suicidal, depressed, narcissist and loving on him in amazing ways. GRACE, GRACE, Jonah was God’s favorite in spite of all the shenanigans, SOOOOO – even I got a chance at THAT!
Adventure, oh what an adventure Jonah goes on with His Friend, God. I’m thinking it might be kinda cool to go on that fish ride, if you knew you would live to tell about it. Don’t tell me we haven’t all thought about it as we name our cars Barracuda or Marlin, Stingray, and these ain’t no wimpy cars by the way, they will take you on a ride. Jonah’s comfort zone gets beyond stretched, he learns to trust God in ways only Jonah could explain. The sign of adventure, I have to admit God has pulled me into things I thought I’d drown haven’t you?
One thing I am absolutely convinced of: ITS A LOVE STORY, God loved Jonah, Nineveh, 120,000 people/Kids who didn’t know their right from their left, God even mentions the animals of Nineveh. UNCONDITIONALLY!!!
Yet, don’t miss that love didn’t change the rules, they still had to repent, turn from the wicked and turn back to Daddy. Jesus gave us that sign all right, we just need to believe it, which gets back to my daughters answer which I don’t think was so bad… “yes, I believe”.