Travelling by Whale

Travelling by Whale

16 September 2006

"You’re looking for proof, but you’re looking for the wrong kind. All you want is something to titillate your curiosity, satisfy your lust for miracles. The only proof you’re going to get is what looks like the absence of proof: Jonah evidence. Like Jonah, three days and nights in the fish’s belly, the Son of Man will be gone three days and nights in the deep grave." (Matthew 12.39-40)

I have been thinking quite a lot lately about this phenomenon, of both the Lord Jesus and the prophet Jonah disappearing...dead and buried, so far as the world was concerned.

And yet, while hidden in their cocoons of death (from which they both escaped!) salvation was wrought. The unwilling and thus useless prophet was rendered willing and useful...albeit sloshing around in the pungent gastric juices of a whale.

"For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man builds upon the foundation..." (1 Corinthians 3.11-12)

The Lord (unobserved by human eye) sealed our salvation in Heaven (Zechariah 3), preached the Gospel in hell and there issued history’s first altar call. (1 Peter 3.18-20 and 4.6)

At the beginning of this year we made some quite radical alterations to our lifestyle with a view to being more available to the Lord...especially overseas. But here we are, seven months later still firmly anchored in New Zealand. So, what has happened?

We discovered ourselves overtaken and in a sense swallowed up by family responsibilities...helping care for Penny’s parents as her father David passed through an especially painful season of grave illness. It has been our joy and a privilege to be close to them and to help out through this time. But there have been moments when we have both stopped and wondered what happened to us and all of our dreams and plans?

We don’t pretend to know. But of this we are sure; being overtaken and overwhelmed by circumstances beyond our control (be it a whale, illness or even death!) is not the end of the story. Not by a long shot.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8.28)

So, we are trusting the Lord (who rose again on the third day) that in His time this particular "whale" will be steered to the right beach, and there encouraged to spit us out...willing and ready for His next assignment.