And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Scripture overflows with depictions of individuals questioning and challenging God. Very often this is shown through rather vivid metaphors. One of my favourites is the story of Jacob wrestling with God in the Book of Genesis. Whilst God does dislocate his hip, Jacob (now renamed Israel) comes to a deeper understanding of his creator as a result.
Perhaps being vomited up by a great big fish is marginally less dignified, but it is certainly a rather rich illustration of Jonah’s tussle with God.
Many see faith as a matter of listlessly and unthinkingly accepting whatever the religious authorities might spoon-feed us with. It is not like that at all. At its best, it should be an active case of grappling with the biggest questions that have faced mankind since the dawn of time.
I understand that many that leave the church say, “I never had my questions answered.” This is something that should deeply concern us.
Many feel self-conscious about asking questions, for fear of being seen as stupid or impertinent. Asking questions is something that should be actively encouraged within Church communities. We should be a house built on questions. After all, as Jonah would no doubt tell you, you have not lived until you have been chewed up and spat out by God.