It’s been sighted a handful of times off the coast of Australia’s South Queensland. The first albino humpback whale ever recorded, at over forty feet long, is so rare that Australia passed a law specifically to protect him.
The Bible tells us about a “huge fish” so rare that God provided it just to swallow Jonah(Jonah 1:17). Many of us will know the story. God told Jonah to take a message of judgement to Nineveh. But Jonah wanted nothing to do with the city, which was known to attack just about everyone- including Jonah’s people. So he ran away. Things went badly and he found himself thrown into the sea. Then, from inside a fish, Jonah said sorry to God. In the end he went to Nineveh and gave them the message, and they said sorry to God too(3:5-10).
Great story, right? Except it doesn’t end there. While Nineveh decided to trust God, Jonah got angry. “Isn’t this what I said, LORD?” he prayed. “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love” (4:2). Having been rescued from certain death, Jonah asked God to kill him(V.3).
The story of Jonah isn’t about the fish. It’s about how small our love can be for one another, and yet how big God’s love is for all of us. “The Lord.. is patient with you,” wrote Peter, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 PET 3:9). God offers his love to the violent city of Nineveh, to Jonah in his anger and to you and me.
OUR LOVE HAS LIMITS; GOD’S LOVE IS LIMITLESS.