Recently, I was particularly struck by a verse in Jonah. Jonah 2, verse 8. As I thought upon this verse, and continued to return to it, I decided to illustrate it in two paintings. To make the explanation easier, I’m going to write it into a short story about two girls and a decision.
“I don’t know what to do! The rapids look very dangerous.” A blue-dressed maiden, blonde hair falling down her back stood with arms crossed, a frown upon her merry face.
Her companion, a young girl of the same age with blonde hair and wearing a pink dress, replied cheerfully. “Well, do you remember what the King told us?”
“I know,” the blue maiden nodded. “He said we ought each to take our own boat and paddle down the river.” After taking one long look at the rapids, the blue maiden turned away impetuously. “But the rapids look so hard! Besides, it looks awful dark down the river–and here, well, it’s so comfortable. I know this area.”
“Well, even if it’s unknown, I’m sure our King could not be mistaken in commanding us.” The pink maiden replied quietly, walking down the dock and stepping into one of the boats. “I’m scared too, but I know from His Word that all will be well if I obey. Would you mind untying my boat for me?”
The blue maiden restlessly untied the boat and watched her friend move away, a pang of loneliness seizing her. “Are you sure you want to go?”
“Yes.” The pink maiden determinedly dipped her oar so as to push her straight into the rapids. “I know that this will give me the most joy.”
“Most joy!?” The blue maiden sputtered with astonishment, staring after her friend. “Well, I suppose you do have a point. But–”
Sitting down at the end of the dock, the blue maiden clasped her hands around her face and sighed in thought. The sound of rushing water before her made her heart beat anxiously.
“Well,” she said to herself. “Surely sitting on the dock isn’t that bad. It’s so much safer here anyway. I know this forest and it’s more comfortable here. I think I’ll just stay.”
Days and weeks pass by, and we find the two maidens experiencing the results of their decisions …
Unfortunately, our blue maiden has found herself in bad conditions. The constant wearing of moving water upon the dock has caused it to slowly break apart, and after a strong storm, the blue maiden finds herself clinging to a log sticking out of the water–that used to be part of the dock. Her boat is now upturned and she knows that her decision has only brought sorrow.
“What have I done?” She wails sadly. “I’ve only brought grief upon myself instead of joy!”
The pink maiden, however, finds herself in wonderful circumstances.
“This is beautiful!” The pink maiden pushed her little boat forward as she entered into a retreat filled with butterflies, flowers, lilies and waterfalls. “I could tell something special was ahead by all the little flowers along the way, but I never guessed it would be as glorious as this!” Feeling mingled joy, happiness and contentment, the pink maiden finds herself winding through glorious passage-ways the next more beautiful than the first.
Thoughts on the Story:
The King commanded the maidens to make a journey through the rapids. The pink maiden instead of hiding and clinging to that which could bring false comfort, choose instead to obey and find the King as her peace, joy and comfort.
Thus, the pink maiden received mercy.
The blue maiden clung to the lying vanities and forsook the mercy that could’ve been hers.
But notice … the boat is still there. If the blue maiden wanted too, she could still turn over the boat and follow the King’s command. It’ll probably be a little harder than if she had started in the first place, but she can still receive the mercy should she choose to do so! (Coming from personal experience! ;-))
So these are some of my thoughts on this verse–I may be seeing it in a completely wrong light, and am entirely open to your thoughts and mediations on this verse. I’d love to hear them!
Feel free to click on either of the main pictures to make them come up larger.