You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.”
I said, “I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
towards your holy temple.
Our son is struggling with a fear of swimming at the moment. Pandemic restrictions have curtailed lessons, which has not helped. Humanity seems to harbour a deep rooted phobia of the deep, untameable waters.
When coming to grips with Scripture, it is often worth recognising the motifs that run throughout the books of the Bible. When God shapes reality in the Book of Genesis, “darkness is over the deep”. As God saves the Israelites from Egypt, he drives the sea back to give them a route to freedom.
Like-father-like-son, Jesus was a dab hand with water too. He could happily fall asleep in a boat amidst a storm. He could even walk on the stuff.
Jonah is now being sucked down deeper into what he fears the most. This is not banishment, however. Rather than being pulled away from God, he is now encased within the belly of God’s reality. Jonah is now closest to his creator, engulfed as he is amongst the churning chaos.
It is a simple truth, but one worth reminding ourselves of.
When we are at our lowest ebb and the world seems to be conspiring against us, we are not at the furthest point from God. More likely than not, God is infused into these moments, encouraging us on and shaping us through the pandemonium. The waters may be sweeping over us, but God is in those waves.