Well, would you believe it? The headline in a newspaper last week read, “Dover sole jumps down man’s throat”.
Apparently, the man, who was in Bournemouth, had been so excited at catching the 14cm fish that he held it to his mouth to kiss it, but it wriggled free and jumped down his throat-causing a complete blockage. When paramedics arrived, they found the man had collapsed and stopped breathing and the situation was desperate. Fortunately, one of the paramedics acted quickly and used forceps to grab the tail of the fish and pull it out. The fish came out in one piece, and to everyone’s amazement it was a whole Dover sole! Quite a bizarre but nevertheless true story with a happy ending. There is a well-known story in the Bible which is the reverse of this. This story is of a fish catching a man. Jonah was the hapless prophet who was swallowed by a large fish, and languished in the fish’s belly for three days and three nights. Jonah had been given a task by the Lord that he really didn’t want to do and so he had simply run away and as a consequence he found himself inside the fish and helpless to save himself. So, he turns to God and prays in repentance and eventually God delivers him to dry land in a most spectacular way by causing the fish to vomit Jonah out onto the beach.
Jonah is not just the story of a big fish and the man who gets swallowed up by it. It’s a story about obedience and just how difficult it can be to do the right thing. Sometimes we have to do things in life that we don’t want to, but God loves each of us even when we fail him. And unlike anglers who occasionally like to talk about “the one that got away”, God never ever lets us go.