Let’s face it, we’ve all ended up inside a whale at some point in our lives…
Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1:17
Let’s not get hung on the huge fish. Whether it was a whale or not. Whether Jonah could have survived in the belly of a fish or not.
Anyone remotely scientific could give you a list of reasons why it’s completely impossible and preposterous. It doesn’t follow the rules of nature. But this is God we’re talking about. The God of all creation. The God who established the rules of nature. The God of the impossible. Plenty of times throughout this journey through the Bible, God’s defied the laws of nature. So let’s not rule it out.
However, what’s really important here is the situation Jonah finds himself in, because let’s face it, we’ve all ended up inside a whale at some point in our lives…
You look around you, completely dazed and bewildered.
‘Where am I? How the hell did I end up here?’
This is weird, strange, totally unfamiliar. You feel cut off from the rest of the world, a million miles from home.
Isolated. Alone. Desperately alone.
It’s unpleasant. Your skin’s crawling. This doesn’t feel right at all. Not natural. The whole situation turns your stomach. You don’t want to move. You don’t want to touch anything.
You can’t breathe properly. You feel like there’s no air, no fresh air. You’re drowning in despair and hopelessness. You’re taking shallow, quick breaths that don’t satisfy your need for air, don’t calm you at all.
You’re starting to panic. This is really, really scary. You don’t really know how you got here and you can see no way out. You have a sense that it’s something you’ve done that’s caused you to end up here. The facts are all a bit hazy. You can’t think straight. You feel ashamed and guilty. Trapped and it’s all your own doing.
You thought you knew best and look at you now.
It’s surreal. You’re feeling a whole lot of inexplicable sensations all at the same time. Like that weird taste in your mouth that’s like iron or ammonia. Like you’re moving and not moving. Your gut is doing flips. Like everything is off balance. You can’t stand up. You can’t see a way forward. There’s nothing and no one to reach out to and grab hold of.
It’s so dark. You can’t see straight. Everything outside of you is blurry round the edges, shadowy and terrifying. You feel consumed by darkness. You’re submerged in it. You’re drowning in darkness.
This is what it is to hit rock bottom. There’s nowhere else to go. Life can’t get any worse than this. This is barely life at all.
You fear for your life. Fear for your sanity. Feel like you’re going to go crazy if you can’t get out of here. You’re dying here. You wish you were dead. This is completely intolerable.
And you’re so tired. You’re fighting for your life, but you don’t think you have the energy to fight any more. Fighting for what you had, for your relationships, for all that you feel you’ve lost. You’re ready to give up. It’s hopeless. you can’t do this on your own.
And you are alone.
Alone in the depths of despair.
And now it’s all beginning to sound far more familiar, isn’t it?
I’ve been there. I imagine you’ve been there too. Maybe that’s where you are right now.
Maybe your ‘belly of the fish’ is depression or anxiety, a relationship break up or a bereavement, stress at work or stress at having no work, long term health issues or social isolation….
However desperate it feels right now, don’t give up. Hang in there.
Come back tomorrow and see that Jonah was not alone.
That we are never alone.