I avoid the typical “sunday school” stories of the Bible. Why? Because I have heard them over and over by many different people. Instead I look for obscure stories that are rarely spoken of. This weekend the story of Jonah showed up at church. Actually, the focus was on the latter half of the short book.

I reread the story a couple times and here is the short of it.  

  • God said Go. Jonah said No.
  • Jonah ran. God grinned. (That’s how I picture it.)
  • Jonah jumped on a boat. God said, “I hope you float.” (Just trying to spit rhymes.)
  • God caused wind. Wind caused waves.
  • The boat’s crew panicked. Jonah hit the hammock.
  • The crew freaked when Jonah said he worshiped the creator of the sea.
  • To save the lives of the crew, Jonah told them to throw him overboard.

This is where I realized I have been missing something all of these years. I knew Jonah ended up in the gut of a fish but I was incorrect on why. I thought his all-inclusive, 3 day, and 3 night stay in the belly of a fish was his punishment for not going to Tarshish. I was wrong. The consequence was Jonah being thrown overboard into the stormy seas. As you can see in chapter 2, Jonah freaked as he was trying to stay afloat. Who wouldn’t? Jonah, cried out to God and God provided His grace.

Jonah 1:17 But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.

If it were not for the fish, Jonah would have just been another bloated body. Sometimes God’s grace comes through an answer that we would label as a test, battle, or “God can I have what’s behind door number 2 instead.” You know the belly of a fish doesn’t smell good. You know Jonah probably swallowed some nasty liquid. You know he had to pee, I mean he was in there for 3 days and 3 nights. But, Thank God for Fish.