#5: The Big Fish Tale

Jonah 1:17

Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Here is a fun whale fact for you: the first underwater photograph of a sperm whale was not taken until 1975. Just think, by this point in history, humanity had invented the atomic bomb and seen the entirety of the earth from outer space. Yet somehow, we had not yet captured an image of this most mysterious of animals in its natural habitat.

It is therefore only appropriate that this creature should become the vehicle for Jonah’s spiritual renewal. We can barely comprehend the great mystery of a large marine mammal, let alone the nature of God.

Before coming to faith, I always thought that religious belief was a case of trading uncertainty for certainty. “I would love to have faith,” I would think, “but it must require some lightning bolt moment to make everything seem clear…”

It was actually a quote from St. Augustine that transformed how I saw things: “If you understand it, it isn’t God.” I am sorry if that sounds hopelessly pretentious, but the boy from Hippo is not a Church Father for nothing. Similarly, for Jonah, it is a case of surrendering himself to the complete unfathomable enigma of God that leads to his transformation.

Does your faith involve an encounter with the depths of experience, or do you find yourself splashing around in the shallows?