1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai.
Today’s message at North Ridge began a study of one of my favorite stories in the Bible, that of Jonah. Chapter one dives right in to the story; Jonah is called to preach to the corrupt, and particularly hostile, Assyrian city Nineveh. The Assyrians were especially violent in their stand against anyone who questioned their lifestyle or belief system, inciting a slow, torturous death to any who opposed them. Jonah understood the gravity of God’s instructions, so he ran.
In creating the image to show Jonah’s calling, I focused on my own experiences of dread and fear of an impending event. My sons dread getting shots, merely mentioning the possibility changes their demeanor like cutting the lights off at night. Receiving the medication held in the syringe has positive results, but the pain the needle brings seems hardly worth it at the time. I remember the fear of bringing home a less-than-acceptable report card; or informing my parents of earning my first speeding ticket. I imagine this emotion of dread was exponentially amplified for Jonah the moment he heard God say the word, Nineveh. My goal was to capture that emotion in this image.
God’s words must have hit Jonah like a punch in the throat, then fell into his gut like a ton of bricks. The violently obstinate Assyrians in Nineveh, with their army, versus Jonah, the solitary minor prophet. I began by covering my page in charcoal and blending it smooth to represent the ominous nature of what Jonah was up against. The page is black, but for a small circle of white on the bottom right the darkness has yet to cover. Jonah must have felt like the small spot of light being encroached upon by the thick blackness of the society he must reach out to. Jonah felt no more able to do this than the white spot could removing the charcoal from this page on its own.
What I love about this image is it can be applied to anyone who has ever felt apprehensive; Noah, Moses, Jonah (or any other prophet) up to Jesus himself experienced this as it pertained to fulfilling God’s call. Anyone who breathes has felt this at some point in their lives.
How does this drawing strike you? Does it capture the weight of emotions you feel when you’re faced with a daunting task?