Each night before bed, Karen or myself are in a habit of reading with Isaac. The books change slightly as Isaac comes to prefer one book over the other. We were in a smooth rhythm of Thomas the Train - Troublesome Trucks, Jonah, and the finale with David & Goliath. I enjoy listening to Isaac quote the various stories and ask questions along the way. David & Goliath seems to be a staple in our nightly repertoire. When we get to David & Goliath the conversation goes,
"Is David listening?"
"Yes, David is listening."
"Is Goliath listening?
"No, Goliath is a pagan. Pagans don't listen."
It's great to hear him now say "Goliath isn't listening; Goliath is a pagan."
For a three year old, the story of Jonah isn't outlandish. Isaac asks the same sort of listening questions for Jonah, the sailors Jonah attempted to join, and the Ninevites. When Jonah is in the fish, Isaac wonders if it's dark in there. I assure him it is dark in the belly of a fish and a bit stinky too. For many of us, though, the reality of a man being swallowed by a large fish, whale perhaps, is crazy. There's no way a story like that could be literally true. Stories like that must have only been written to convey . . . uh, faith or . . . the reality of a Sovereign God whom people should turn to or He'll wipe out?
It is crazy to think of a man being swallowed by a fish. When that's observed in nature, game over. No more observation. But in a world that supernatural intervention takes place, miracles happen. A man is swallowed by a fish, prays for God's mercy, and holds onto his hope in God.
Even if this story is discounted, it's interesting to hear Jesus' thoughts on Jonah. When people demanded Jesus to perform a sign so they would know He was the Messiah, he turned their attention to Jonah. Just like Jonah was really in the belly of a fish for three days, so will I be dead for three days (my paraphrase Matt. 12:38-40).
That's crazy to think of a man being in a fish for three days and living. Yes, it is. It's even crazier to think a man can be brutally killed and after three days rise from the dead.
Jesus says all of this is true. Are we listening to His words?