Most people are familiar with the story of the prophet, Jonah, and the whale that swallowed him. There’s a whole book in the Bible that tells Jonah’s story. Now there will be a whole post on the internet telling my son Jonah’s story.
But first, here’s a summary of what happened to the more famous Jonah: He ran away from the place God wanted to send him to avoid rejection. Along the way he got caught in a storm on the water and was thrown off of the boat he had taken passage on in hopes of calming that storm. As Jonah’s body hit the water, the Lord immediately stopped the storm and sent a “big fish” (which we assume is a kind of whale), which swallowed him whole. After three days of digestive stink, darkness, and pleading with the Lord, Jonah committed to stop running from God. It was then that he was deposited on shore by the fish, unharmed, and headed directly to the place God had originally called him. His story is a picture of redemption, a pointing towards the resurrection that Jesus would later make reality.
Jonah Ian: the name we chose for our first son. When we picked the name Jonah, partially for its connection to the resurrection, we had no idea how literal his connection would be. There are some obvious connections between our son and the Biblical Jonah: three days in the whale -> three trimesters in my whaleish belly; being spit out onto the shore to follow God’s will -> being birthed into the world to fulfill God’s plan. But the main connection is in the fact that our Jonah wasn’t breathing when he was born. He literally had to be resurrected, or resuscitated, technically. His intubation was then followed by three days of cooling treatment to reduce brain swelling and a three day EEG to monitor his brain activity for seizures or other abnormalities-the “threes” trend continued. His birth was traumatic to say the least, yet God-ordained in every way.
My husband and I happened to read through the book of Jonah while I was enduring my three (yepp, three again) days of labor. As we looked back on what we had read after Jonah was born, one verse in particular stuck out to us: “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple” (Jonah 2:7 NIV). We were crying out to the Lord as we waited to hear those beloved first cries from our newborn baby. His life was slipping away. “Come on buddy, breathe, breathe” I heard my husband say. I starred at the ceiling, nearly emotionless after hours of pain and pushing. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.” God heard the cries pouring out of our hearts and Jonah finally began to breathe. That was the start of our very long journey with Jonah. That verse only becomes more appropriate when paired with the fact that Jonah was born on July 2. The second day of the seventh month-> 2:7…Jonah 2:7.
His diagnosis list is long, his milestone list is short, but everything about him is God-ordained! He is our miracle and our daily blessing. His name carries so much weight and so much hope. We have confidence that he will continue to follow the Biblical Jonah’s story straight into God’s will, hopefully with less running away. But, since we know that Jonah will grow up to be a testy teen one day, we are so thankful to be able to introduce him to a God who never stops pursuing him, never stops forgiving him, and never stops loving him. Jonah is our reminder of God’s relentless love, forgiveness, and life saving sacrifice.