Someone has outlined Jonah as having four parts:
Chapter 1 – Jonah runs away from God.
Chapter 2 – Jonah runs to God.
Chapter 3 – Jonah runs with God
Chapter 4 – Jonah runs ahead of God.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like in the belly of a whale (or big fish).
As a child I thought it might have been a bit roomy, kinda like the old Disney movie scene with Geppetto and Pinocchio in the whale’s belly. But nothing could be further from the truth than that. First, the smell would have had to have been aweful! Second, air would have been in short supply. Third, it would have been dark. Fourth, there’s no telling what kind of creepy slimy crawly stuff Jonah would have felt.
Jonah describes how he felt in a long poem in chapter two that draws on a multitude of prayers from the Psalms Jonah must have heard all his life. Unlike the resignation that seems to have characterized Jonah in chapter 1, in chapter two, God has Jonah’s full attention. As his life ebbs away, he cries in penitence for rescue.
And God provides it.
Never be afraid to call out to the Lord at the last minute. That’s not permission to wait until then to cry out, but if you have, don’t be afraid (or too stubborn) to do it. God is listening.