God provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed… – Jonah 1:17-2:1 (NRSV)
Jonah was in a time-out.
He was supposed to convert a city chock-full of notorious heathens, but decided it was mission impossible. So he got on the first ship sailing in the opposite direction.
A professional prophet ought to know the impossibility of running from an omniscient, omnipresent boss. God kicked up a mighty storm against Jonah’s escape vessel, and when the sailors got wind that Jonah’s defiance was the cause, they wisely tossed him overboard.
Enter big fish: twofer life raft and time-out chamber. Suddenly, Jonah got religion and prayed real hard.
COVID-19 has sent us to our rooms for a time-out. Maybe we will get religion too – meaning we face how we’ve ignored the Creator, how we’ve run amok, how we’ve caused storms, how we’ve been drowning in disobedience and insanity.
The fish vomited Jonah onto a beach. It wasn’t a pleasant way to exit. However, there were two ways out of that fish and I think God chose the better part. Regardless, Jonah was converted and did a bang-up job converting those notorious heathens.
Holy One, we pray to you from the belly of a pandemic. We don’t know how we will come out of this, but we pray we too will be converted.