Jonah and the Whale

When God speaks

Before discovering the gender of our baby, my husband experienced a peculiar prophetic moment while we attended church one day. He recounted praying to gain insight into our child’s destiny when he felt that God communicated with him. According to him, we were expecting a boy, and his name would be Jonah. When Brad disclosed this to me, I chuckled skeptically, as he isn’t typically inclined towards prophecy, and I am well acquainted with the story of Jonah and the whale. Throughout our 15 years together, my husband had never previously mentioned experiencing such a profound divine encounter. Nonetheless, the fact that he felt God’s communication, rather than myself, leads me to believe it holds truth. Neither Brad nor I were particularly fond of the name Jonah.

I held my breath during our gender reveal, watching anxiously as our girls bit into the cake pops. It’s a BOY! My husband celebrated by popping bottles of champagne (eye roll), while I stood there momentarily in disbelief. This reaction was quite different from how he celebrated Paityn’s gender reveal, mind you. Nevertheless, he had longed for a boy since the beginning of our marriage. While I was excited and happy for him, the thought of raising a son made me a little nervous. I’m a girl mom through and through, with two daughters. So, this is going to be quite a departure from what I’m accustomed to. It took a couple of days for the excitement and nerves to settle, but once they did, it was time to discuss names.

When God is being Obvious…

As we delved into discussing names, Brad raised the idea of Jonah once more. I remained uninterested and continued to brush off the suggestion. It’s like when you’re shopping for a car and settle on a particular model—suddenly, you start noticing that car everywhere, right? Similarly, after the name Jonah came up a few times, it seemed to appear everywhere I turned! From the TV show Ozark (where the son’s name is Jonah) to overhearing someone at daycare calling out the name, among many other instances.

What really grabbed my attention was when I was leaving church one day after a meeting. It was a moment that made me pause and really take it in, prompting me to snap a photo to send to Brad. On the TV screen in the lobby, the name Jonah flashed, indicating that the next series our church would discuss was centered on the Jonah chapter in the Bible. For the ensuing five weeks, our church sermons revolved around the story of Jonah’s life. It was at this point that I threw my hands up in the air and said, “Fine, Lord. This will be his name.”

Jonah and the Whale

Names don’t necessarily have to align with the theme of a child’s bedroom. However, it was something I desired for him—a reminder of what God did for Jonah at sea and what God can do for my son. Even at Jonah’s lowest point, when he turned away from God’s presence, God showed grace and mercy, saving Jonah by providing a whale to keep him from drowning at sea. If you’re unfamiliar with Jonah’s story, I highly encourage you to read more about it. Here’s a valuable resource that presents scriptures in the NIV translation.

There’s already a captivating sense of purpose in my son’s life, evident from the way his name was revealed to us. As we embark on this new parenting journey of nurturing a boy into a man, I find myself pondering what God has in store and why He was insistent on us naming our son Jonah.


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