By: Ely Lagajino
Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD. Jeremiah 23:24 (NKJV)
Donsol Sea in Sorsogon became a famous tourist attraction because of the whale shark or its local name, Butanding. Our coastal barangay is a town away from Donsol, where dynamite fishing was practiced. Whenever we heard and explosion adult and children divers would race to the blasting site to dive for fishes on a sharing basis. The Butanding rushes to the site too with its wide open mouth that swallowed anything on its way, so the children would stop diving when we see them coming, whilethe older divers bravely ride on its back to rest. Every time I see the huge fish I remember the story of Jonah.
When Jonah ran away from God, he hid in the lowest part of the ship. God sent a storm. The vessels ordered the captain to throw the cargoes to lighten the boat while trying hard to row it back to the port, but they could not. The mariners prayed to their respective gods that they might be saved (PK p. 258).
The captain was surprised to see Jonah sleeping and asked him to pray to his God. But because the strong winds continued, they decided to cast lots to determine who angered the gods. The unlucky number fell on Jonah. “I fled from the living Lord who commanded me to preach to Nineveh,” Jonah explained.
The crew feared and believed the living God. “What shall we do to stop the storm?” Jonah answered without hesitation, “Throw me into the sea” (Jonah 1:12}. He thought that if they threw him into the sea, the storm would stop to save the innocent seafarers, and he would have the time to swim backacross the shore. But God prepared a hungry whale perhaps as big as the Butanding to swallow Jonah, where he repented and prayed for three nights and three days inside the whale’s stomach. God answered his prayer, and the whale spewed him out on the seashore.
How about you, which is easier to obey God or to sleep in the belly of a whale?