His name means dove. And a dove ﬂies in the sky and has the calmness, tranquility and simplicity, even naive behavior. Perhaps Jonah’s character has a lot of these qualities, for the Lord has commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh calling upon her people and warning against God’s wrath if they did not repent, is not that the law of the Lord, which has not changed since ancient times?!” I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” ( Luke 13:3). From God’s words to Jonah we can conclude a dialogue that reveals the personality of Jonah( the dove). Hear him saying” Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I ﬂed previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm” ( Jonah 4:2). Here the tenderness in Jonah’s personality is revealed, who knew the mercy in God’s heart despite His threat to destroy Ninevah which led jonah to run away. And that is what we frequently do in simplicity, even in stupidity thinking that we can escape from God. It is the thinking of a naive dove, for how and why would we escape from our loving, compassionate Father, also the strong Father who has control of everything. Listen to David’s experience saying” Where can go from Your Spirit? Or where can I ﬂee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me” ( Psalms 139:7-10). Our true knowledge of God makes us not run away from Him but towards Him. Did not Peter say to the Lord Christ” Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” ( John 6:68). Perhaps Jonah asked the Lord, why send me to preach a doomed city when I know the tenderness of Your heart towards those who come to You? And why put me in a violent confrontation with those who do not worship You? They might kill me. In all this we do not have but the Lord, telling Him about our oppressions and concerns, trusting that He manages everything well” Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” ( Psalms 55:22). And when the Lord told us” Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” ( Matthew 10:16), He did not mean for us to be naive, but in the simplicity and purity of our hearts we earn the heavenly wisdom, giving up ourselves by accepting to enter from the narrow door, this is what the snake does when it’s skin tightens through the stages of its it’s growth, it traps itself in a very narrow opening and forces its body to pass through, sloughing its old skin, wearing a new one that is more ﬁtting and with more beautiful shades. Therefore my brethren, let us learn from our compassionate Father who called us saying” Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will ﬁnd rest for your souls” ( Matthew 11:29). Let us look to our Teacher who was like a dove” He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking ﬂax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory” ( Matthew 12:19-20). My beloved Father, let me have the simplicity of a dove in Your calmness and humility, ﬁll me with the spirit of heavenly wisdom which is ﬁlled with purity and peace, wisdom full of mercy and good fruits without partiality and hypocrisy, so I can set out to the whole world, preaching your salvation and calling in joy for all to come” Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! ( Psalm 34:8).
Often during our childhood, we were satisﬁed with playing on the sea shore without entering into its depths. And on the beach we cannot enjoy a nice swim, but the waves hits our faces whenever we try overcoming them. This is the case during our spiritual childhood with God. We do not want to walk with Him length and width and perhaps we did not think of diving with Him, to see the wonders of His depths. Let us listen to what the Lord told Peter when He ﬁnished talking to the crowd” When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” 6 And when they had done this, they caught a great number of ﬁsh, and their net was breaking” ( Luke 5:4-6). Now with Jonah in the depth of the sea in the belly of the whale and his death- as what it looked like- the Lord saved him three days and three nights, shining upon him to see the Lord and His salvation, the salvation of the sailors and the people of Ninevah. In the depths was Jonah’s retreat, his fasting, prayers and prophetic vision. Note that Jonah didn’t pray when the sailors called him, but in the depths and mandatory retreat which surrounded him he did. The Book says” Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the ﬁsh’s belly” ( Jonah 2:1). We are often in alienation from God for one reason or the other, and the Lord calls us to sit with Him and to hear us because He loves us, and because it is for our own good, yet in a lot of times we do not ask for His opinion . He is a groom of our souls, that do not belong to us because he bought us for Himself from every nation. Like a Bridegroom who calls upon His bride saying” my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret places of the cliff, Let me see your face, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, And your face is lovely.” ( Song of Songs 2:14). We must know that by our faith and baptism in Him, we acquired a beautiful nature because we were clothed in Him and has become for us the mind of Christ and His divine essence. So how wouldn’t we have a continuous relationship and communication with Him? Therefore, in the depths we can easily see Him and communicate with Him in prayers, love and surrender. Perhaps it is for own good that He surrounds us with discipline because the Lord disciplines those whom He loves. It was in the depths where Jonah ﬁgured out his weaknesses and limited possibilities which didn’t serve him in the time of his trouble. Here, we hear him praying “I cried out to the Lord because of my afﬂiction, And He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice” ( Jonah 2:2). If only when we see ourselves as great, that we enter into the depths to discover how weak and helpless we are in facing a lot of our life matters, our families, work, illness and restlessness that surround us when we ﬂee from the face of the Lord. Then, in the calmness and depth we realize God’s message that was sent to us ” receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” ( 1Peter 1:9). And that is what Johan realized in the belly of the whale, that the Lord will bring him Back to life to complete his mission and deliver the message to the people of Nineveh then return to Jerusalem where the Temple of God is to offer the sacriﬁces of peace, thankfulness and praise. In other words, in our depths in God, He grant us of His Holy Spirit and the spirit of faith, prophecy and hope” Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple… I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God. “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple” ( Jonah 2:4,6,7). The Lord’s beloved, let us enter to Him in the depths, where our prayers, fasting, reading in the Book, repentance, confession, and all what concern our relationship with the Bridegroom of our soul, all be in the depths. Let us hear the words of the Book in this regard” They see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep” ( Psalm 107:24). Let us not sufﬁce by playing on the life’s beach with God, but rather go into the depth where the Spirit Carries us to the depths of God” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” ( 1Corinthians 2:10). Where we will ﬁnd ﬂooding rivers, like what Ezekiel experienced ” Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed” ( Ezekiel 47:5). How tasteful is it to be in the depth with the Lord, where the Spirit brings us from one glory to the other” Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me” ( Psalm 42:7).