August 13 – The Deep

The Deep

“I’ve lost control, but I’m free”
– In Over My Head, Bethel

A familiar passage in the story of Jonah reads:

“In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God.
He answered me.
From the belly of the grave I cried, ‘Help!’
You heard my cry.
You threw me into ocean’s depths,
into a watery grave,
With ocean waves, ocean breakers
crashing over me.
I said, ‘I’ve been thrown away,
thrown out, out of your sight.
I’ll never again lay eyes
on your Holy Temple.’
Ocean gripped me by the throat.
The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight.
My head was all tangled in seaweed
at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root.
I was as far down as a body can go,
and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—
Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive,
O God, my God!
When my life was slipping away,
I remembered God,
And my prayer got through to you…”

– Jonah 2:2-8 (MSG)

‘As far down as a body can go’ the passage says that Jonah sank into the depths. As Jonah sank literally into the abyss I think it’s a familiar feeling for us all, sinking, deep. Whether its sinking into fear, helplessness, spiraling into hopelessness, or buried by our schedules. We can be consumed by our difficulties. I’m wondering if you can relate to days where you’re simply trying to stay afloat. A song put out by Bethel Music says:

“And whether I sink, whether I swim
It makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head” 
If it makes no difference, it tells us to release all of these sinking feelings. When you’ve hit the bottom, there’s nowhere else to go.

“The only storm that can really destroy—the storm of divine justice and judgment on sin and evil—will never come upon you. Jesus bowed his head into that ultimate storm, willingly, for you. He died, receiving the punishment for sin we deserve, so we can be pardoned when we trust in him.”
– Timothy Keller, The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy

Our deep is not too deep for God. There is nothing too far from God’s rescue, no prayer he can’t handle, no despair he doesn’t attend too. We can surrender our despair to him.
God is with us in the depths, and as he provided Jonah with a whale, he again gives us a second chance. Maybe we don’t recognize our second chances? I wouldn’t at first assume being swallowed by a whale a second chance.

Beneath the waves we can find the will to surrender.
Whether I sink, or whether I swim.

In time, I wonder if we could see the depths as a place of turn around; a chance to reevaluate and reassess. To remind ourselves of gratitude, or to dwell on the storm that Jesus has fought and won for us. I want to encourage you that no ocean is too big for his grace, his power, and love. 

Let it go

“If you were a hundred times worse than you are, your sins would be no match for his mercy.”
– Timothy Keller, The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy

“Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now”

– Oceans, Hillsong United

Hoping we can learn to take each day in strides, to pursue gratitude and release the feelings of defeat to Jesus, whom gives us mercy and second chances at the bottom.

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