Jonah 1:3-- But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
Jonah exemplifies the proverbial "Ostrich putting his head in the sand"... Only except just his head going in-- he tried to dig all the way to China-- or Tarshish in this case.
He thought he could run from God. What he DIDN'T take into consideration is that God is everywhere! You can cover your head, close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and go "Lalalalalalalalalalalalala"... but guess what? God is still there (Probably shaking his head at you and smirking a little).
When you are lonely-- God always being there is an amazing comfort, but when God is telling us to do something--- and we stamp our foot and don't want to do it-- well it can be an overwhelming thought... he's ALWAYS with us!
In Jonah's case, God wanted him to go to Ninereh-- a very powerful-- very wicked city. Jonah had grown up hating the people living there and truly didn't want them to repent. They were Gentiles after all! (GASP!)
He wanted them to suffer God's punishment. How fitting that it was Jonah who got punished himself? Hatred can have that result. (not that we should be happy about it or think 'Yeah, he got his')
We all know how the story goes.
Storm came up.
Jonah threw overboard.
Jonah ate by a big fish (ewwwwww)
Can you imagine his face? There, sitting in that dark fish, knowing that God put him there? It probably looked like the face we would make. You know that look-- first a grimace. Followed by a scowl. Then a deep heavy, heavy sigh. Possibly followed by an eye roll.. a 'throwing the hands up in the air'. Then plopping yourself down... moping a minute... followed by the headshake and semi- "You got me good, God!" smile, then finally a smile accepting what God wants from you.
I'm sure Jonah had all of those expressions... and probably a few not so pleasant words (I mean, the man was inside a fish!)
We all know how the story ended. Jonah, after being figuratively spanked and literally thrown up on the beach, made his way to Ninevah where they eagerly accepted his message and repented.
We can't run from God. He has a purpose for everything he asks us to do--- even if he has to throw us in a big fish belly to get us to do it first.
God Bless You!