I learned a little more of the details. First, Jonah was called to preach to some really bad dudes. Very violent and scary dudes. It's like today's equivalent of being asked to go convert ISIS. You're pretty much guaranteed to be killed (or so it seems)
Next, while he was on the boat running away there was a big storm. The other guys on the boat asked Jonah who he was and Jonah admitted this storm was probably his fault. He told them to throw him overboard so they would all survive.
So they did. And then what?
17 ¶Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah
I don't know about you but I always kind of saw that as a punishment. You try to run away from God? HA! Good one. He will just have you swallowed by a whale.
I think the lesson I learned before was that
1. God doesn't ask you to do things if you can handle them
B. He can always find you so don't run.
Well a guy in class had the coolest comment. He said that by Jonah being asked to be thrown overboard he was essentially committing suicide. He assumed he wouldn't survive those waters. Instead of looking at the big fish as punishment, look at it as the way The Lord saved Jonah's life!
How cool is that??
That whale was actually a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father who wanted to give Jonah the chance to repent and try again. He wanted to help (and humble) Jonah by letting him witness that miracle.
Maybe you all have thought of this before, but it totally blew our minds!