Scriptures for today
- Psalm 51
- Jonah 4:1-11
- Romans 1:8-17
Even as a kid I was always fascinated by the tale of Jonah that appears in the Hebrew scriptures. How in the world could a fish swallow a human being? And what must it have been like for Jonah to be trapped in the intestines of a fish for three days and three nights? It was a very real story for me when I first heard it in Sunday School and it is a very real story for me now. But in a much different way.
It is a delightful tale of Jonah trying to run away from God. God wanted Jonah to travel to the people of Ninevah to reassure them that they were God’s beloved children. What? The wicked people of Ninevah. “Not worth my time,” says Jonah and promptly runs in the opposite direction. But God doesn’t give up easily, he pursues Jonah and through a series of adventures Jonah comes to realize that God will not be deterred.
What do the adventures of Jonah have to say to us hundreds of years later? First and foremost, it seems to me that God is reminding the people of Israel that just because they think they are the chosen people of God, it just isn’t so. All of us are the chosen children of God, worthy of love, forgiveness and healing grace.
And, secondly, the harrowing adventures of Jonah are a reminder that all of us have times in our lives when we feel trapped in darkness and despair. That three days for Jonah in the belly of a fish is a tremendous allegory for those times of smothering darkness and despair. But Jonah says, “Out of my distress, I cried to Yahweh and he answered me and heard my voice!” A reminder that even though we might feel overwhelmed, God never abandons us, but hears the sound of our voice and responds.
Are you in the midst of a time of darkness and despair in your life? Cry out. Call out. And God will come to you in the time of your distress and you shall be raised up on the wave of her tremendous unconditional love. ♥
By Linda Hunter