Friday, June 6, 2008

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.

Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires

with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.

Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.

Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way

for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review

each of your life's ten million choices. Endure moments

of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you. Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound

of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.

Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all

the things you did and could have done. Remember

treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes

pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.

"Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale" by Dan Albergotti from The Boatloads

What comes to your mind when you think of the prophet Jonah? Most likely Jonah wrote autobiographically about what had happened to him.

He tells us that he is the son of Amittai (Jonah 1:1). His name means "dove." The name is decisive. Most of the other prophets had heroic names. (Isaiah means "God has saved") He belonged to the Ten Tribes of Israel, grew up near Nazareth (where Jesus was from) at the village of Gath Hepher, and lived about 800 B.C. or a little after during the reign of Jerobeam II, the king of Israel (2 Kings 14:25).

While Jonah flees, God pursues. While Jonah falls, God lifts up. God even used a reluctant prophet as a vehicle of his grace. Jonah becomes a “type” for Jesus. Jonah spent three days in the belly of the fish; Jesus spent three days in the ground. Jesus even compares his generation to the people of Nineveh.

Ironically the reluctant Jonah becomes one of the most effective of all prophets, turning the entire population of Nineveh (about 120,000 people) to God. So, the greatest insight of Jonah's story is that God desires to show mercy and grace to us all. This is a Good News of salvation for all of us, even those that are contemplating running from God!
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