Where is God? And what is God doing in our world?
The book of Jonah tells us that God is active: sending his word – and the storm. All that is going wrong in the world does not go unnoticed by God. God intervenes: his word is to be preached against Nineveh.
But God’s action reveals God’s concern. God’s word always arrives with hope: the possibility that it might be received and bring life. God is unrelenting in his pursuit of Nineveh. Everyone and everything in this story are inexorably drawn into God’s mission to save.
Jonah’s response to the coming of this hope-filled, life giving word is to run. Even when pursued by God through the storm, Jonah is asleep to God. It is the pagan sailors, crying out to every god they know, and doing all they can to save themselves, who are attentive to the hope of salvation. The captain’s words are a revelation: Jonah, maybe yours is a God, “who will take notice of us, and we will not perish?”
Amidst the storm of Covid-19, Jonah reassures us that God is active. God still sees and saves, sending his word which breaks in with hope and life amidst our chaos. The challenge for us in this storm is how we respond to God’s word: are we, like Jonah, running away, asleep to what God is doing and saying? Or are we on our feet like the sailors, desperately crying out, eagerly seeking an encounter with the God who, in the midst of all our storms, hears us calling, takes notice, and comes to save?