Time Out

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.

ddauthormattlaney2014.pngAbout the Author
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first two books, The Spinner Prince and The Four Guardians are available now.