Jesus knew well the graphic story of Jonah the prophet who was running from God and was used by God almost in spite of himself. Jonah was swallowed by a whale and taken where he would rather not go. This was Jesus’ metaphor for death and rebirth.
Rather than look for impressive apparitions or miracles, Jesus said we must go inside the belly of the whale for a while. Then and only then will we be spit up on a new shore and understand our call, our place, and our purpose. Unless you have gone down, you do not know what up is! Unless you descend, you won’t long for and make inner space for ascent.
Richard Rohr, OFM