Is there actually a purpose in suffering or is it just a cruel joke of God? Jonah is a great example of suffering bringing a positive result. Jonah was running away in defiance of God’s directive to tell the evil super-power of his day to shape up or else! So now Jonah is trapped in a gruesome and slimy prison in the belly of a whale (and yes it has been historically proven to be possible). It took three long days to break Jonah before he finally admits that he is not the center of the world and may actually harbor prejudice. He comes to realize that nothing matters more than relationship with God.
As our home quarantine drags on with no end in sight, where are you suffering most? Losing your job? no money? health concerns? frustrations with your family? loneliness? boredom? government restrictions? It’s easy to miss the bigger question in the midst of these struggles: where is God taking us? Jonah’s objections to saving a cruel and ruthless people were quite reasonable. Wanting all this to end is also quite reasonable. But it still can distract us from fully finding God in the belly of the beast to find what He wants to do in my life. Just like Jonah, we can find purpose in the midst of pain.