“It was dark.”
Author’s Note: This entire article is a work of fiction. The story of Jonah is found in the Bible as the book of Jonah. Nothing in this article is proven or true. It is not even a legitimate interpretation. It’s a completely a work of fiction and imagination of the author.
He started with those words as he sat down his dark-brown mahogany chair.
“Completely, utterly dark.”
He did not have any facial hair. Not even where his eyebrows used to be.
“When it’s that dark, you couldn’t possibly know the time, count the days. Three days and three nights seemed like an eternity to me.”
It seemed so surreal that this man agreed to give me some of his time and wisdom. Although I did not expect him to look this way.
“After a short while, I felt stinging on my skin. It would come and go. I realize at the end that it was bile.”
I looked at his skin and it looked damaged. There are no sign of hair on his skin either. Some parts of his skin looked pale and some looked burned.
“I said a prayer of thanks to God during that time. I realized that if God did not command that fish to swallow me whole, I would have been dead.”
He pouted his lips and looked away as if reminiscing something.
“Ironic that in my darkest moments, God shone his light the brightest in my life.”
I cleared my throat and spoke for the first time.
“What happened to all your hair, Jonah?”
He smiled, “It all… How do you say it…. Melted away.”
“Due to the bile?”
“Yes. And my skin got damaged too as you can see.” He held his arms out as if to emphasize his skin’s condition.
“Perhaps it is something that God had planned. Perhaps not – but these afflictions of mine helped turn Nineveh’s heart towards God.”
“When God commanded the fish to spit me out on the beach, people who witnessed that event called me the ‘Fish Man’.”
He took a glass of water at the center table and proceeded to drink before going any further with his story.
“They kept on raving about how they saw me coming out from the mouth of a huge fish. It was crazy.”
“I, on the other hand, was just happy to see the the light of day once more.”
He put the glass of water down the center table.
“After all of that, I set out for Nineveh and preached what God told me to say. No longer did I fear death in the hands of the Assyrians. After the ordeal of being thrown out at sea and being swallowed whole, I no longer feared death.”
His lips frowned a little bit.
“However, I did it with a heavy heart. The Assyrians were a horrible people – and I knew that God was going to show them mercy.”
Then he smiled.
“Our God is a good God. So good that he even reaches out to ruthless and horrible people.”
I took notes of these things in my journal. As I was writing, Jonah kept on.
“I was going to be labelled, you know?”
I looked at him with a puzzling stare. I didn’t know what he was talking about.
“I was going to be labelled by fellow Israelites as ‘the prophet who saved our enemies’. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘the enemy of our enemy is our friend’?”
“I have heard of that, yes.”
“I was going to look like an enemy of Israel. But you know what? I realized it is better to be an enemy of my own brethren rather than an enemy of God.”
I never thought about Jonah’s situation as deeply as he is telling it to me right now. It’s quite distressing if I was put in the same situation.
“At times, the Lord will test you.” Jonah looked at me squarely in the eyes, “He will put you in a situation where it’s either Him or the thing you value the most. In my case, it was my life and my reputation.” He held his chest as he said these things.
“What shall I do when that time comes?”
“Two things.” He put one finger up to emphasize what he was about to say, “One, listen and pray. Read God’s Word and meditate so you can hear the Lord clearly amongst all the noise you have in your life today.” Then he pointed his second finger up. “Two is the harder part. Obey. Do it. Even if it costs you everything.”
I felt like I swallowed hard at the weight of those words.
“Because if not, the other option may as well be darkness – at the belly of the beast.”
I nodded. Some parts of me still fear that a situation like that would come.
Thank God for Jonah who has been there and has shown us the way.