The Story of Jonah: Confessions of a Prophet
Confessions of a Prophet
The smell of partially decayed fish mixed with the overpowering aroma of stomach bile burns my nostrils as I reflect on just how I managed to get myself into this unfortunate predicament. I hold my hand out in front of my face and see nothing but the never-ending darkness that seems to engulf my entire body. Honestly I am almost grateful I cannot see; based on the smell of this place, I’m not so sure I want to see it. Just where am I might you ask? Well I think I am in the stomach of a fish.
Let me introduce myself: my name is Jonah, the son of Amittai, and I am a prophet. At least I was a prophet before I landed myself here. It all started on an ordinary day, the marketplace was bustling, and the sun beat down cooking my already tanned skin as I went about my usual activities. The night however was not an ordinary night, for on that night the Lord gave me a command unlike any other I had ever received. I was sleeping peacefully, the vast sky stretched above my head, the stars twinkling like diamonds and not a cloud in sight. When suddenly the Lord awoke me and proclaimed “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me”.
If you’re not from around these parts, let me explain a little bit about Nineveh for you. Nineveh is the capital of the Assyrian empire and full of evil. The Ninevehites are ruthless in war and are constantly plotting evil against the Lord. All the Ninevehites do is practice witchcraft and worship their millions of idols. Their prostitutes and drunkards outnumber the grains of sand, why does the Lord even think they should be warned? Trust me, they are never going to change their ways. I refused to make the long unbearable journey to the land of Israel’s long time enemy.
At daybreak I left straight away with my mind set on going west, the complete opposite direction of Nineveh. After considering my options I promptly boarded a ship leaving the city of Joppa, heading to Tarshish. Once I boarded the ship, I started to feel a tiny bit guilty about what I was doing, but I quickly brushed it off and allowed the gentle, rhythmic rocking of the ship to lull me into a deep sleep.
My dreams were shattered by the yelling of the captain, “How is it that you are sleeping?!” he shouted at me. “Get up, call on your God. Perhaps your God will be concerned about us so that we will not perish!” Violent winds seemed to come from every direction, the creaking and groaning of the wooden ship could be heard above the deafening claps of thunder. The rain was coming down so hard I could barely see one cubic in front of me, soaking my tunic and turning the deck of the ship into a lake. A sickening feeling sank into the pit of my stomach as I looked out across the now angry sea, and I knew deep down I was to blame for this raging storm.
Soon the men began to talk to each other. “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has stuck us,” they agreed. I wanted to disappear when I looked down and realized the lot had fallen on me. This was it; there was no more running from God. It was time for me to own up to my mistake before I cost the crew their lives. I told them to throw me into the sea, and then the Lord would surely calm the sea. “This is my fault” I admitted, feeling no bigger than an ant.
The crew, however, ignored my request and rowed desperately to return to land. After a few moments they realized the storm was getting even stronger, so they prayed to the Lord my God before throwing me overboard. The sea instantly calmed, and my body bobbed in the gentle waves. Suddenly the water consumed me, and I tumbled head over heels into what felt like a slimy cave. Coughing and spitting up water, I opened my eyes to survey my surroundings, but all I could see was pure darkness. After my mind cleared and I realized I was not blind just in the dark, I began to use my other senses. The all too familiar fishy smell mixed with the strong, undeniable, stench of stomach bile set in, and I felt the constant swaying motion similar to that of a ship. I came to the conclusion that I must somehow be in the stomach of a fish.
The Turning Point
I sat up and gingerly began to stretch my aching muscles, but my arms quickly came into contact with the gooey lining of my surroundings. Reality begins to set in as I realize I am destined to die inside this dungeon. The Lord certainly is mad at me and to be quite honest I’m not all that pleased with him right now either.
It feels like I have been trapped here for eternity. I began to realize the Lord could have let me drown, a death I certainly deserved as a result of my disobedience, but instead he saved me. I prayed for the first time since that unordinary night and thanked the Lord for preserving my life. I know I am not in any position to bargain with him, I can only thank him for both my life and for my salvation. I confess to you from the stomach of this fish, I tried to run from the Lord but he captured me and saved me from myself.
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© 2015 Courtney Scales