When I brought up the fact that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, my pastor started laughing at me. He asked me if I really believe that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.... I told him, "doesn't the bible say so?"
I remember him chuckling then explained to me that it is scientifically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because their throat is too narrow. He told me that he couldn't believe that I still believed that story even after I was all grown up... I remember this clearly because there were few other people in the room and they were all laughing at me at this point.
I was confused and embarrassed so I asked him then why would that story be in the bible. Isn't everything in the bible a true story?
He then further explained that in Jonah 1:5, he fell asleep inside the ship and everything onwards was a dream until he woke up at Nineveh.
I felt pretty stupid when I heard this and that's how I believed it from that point on.
I was this little girl in the humor story.
Since this was about 10 years ago, I totally forgot about this incident UNTIL today.
One of our seminary students from our EM preached today during the Service and it was about the Jonah's story. When he started to read the Jonah's story from the bible, I immediately remember what happened about 10 years ago and I immediately knew that my pastor at that time was wrong!
I now believe that Jonah was in fact swallowed by a big fish. Whether it was a whale or some other big fish, God can make anything possible at His will. He has performed so many more and bigger miracles in the bible.
If I ever meet him again, I definitely will bring this story up again and challenge him
Also, one of the most important things that I learned today was from Jonah 1:16.
"Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows"
Through Jonah's actions, non-believers around him became believers. How cool is that?