In the first chapter we saw Jonah running from God. They throw Jonah overboard and God provides a great fish to swallow Jonah. From the belly of the fish Jonah gives us a good look at depression.
Not everyone who suffers from depression is running from God. Not all depression is caused by a lack of faith. Depression is not caused by sin. Depression can be caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain, or it can be caused by actually living in a horrible life situation.
Depression is a profound sadness, the lack of desire to do anything, all your other feelings despair under this sadness. It often is accompanied by despair, and a lack of hope.
For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever.
Regardless of how Jonah got there, his situation is really as bad as it seems. People who do not suffer from depression live in a bright world with a sprinkling of dark or shady spots. The depressed person lives in a dark or shady world with a sprinkling of light spots. Then there are the holes.
Bob was walking through a sunlit meadow when the grass gave way under his feet and he fell down a hole. Bob rattled down the hole hit the bottom and broke his leg. Bob had stumbled into a mine vent. Now he sat in total darkness, eventually people he was with noticed he was missing and found him sitting in the dark and rescued him.
I have suffered from clinical depression for more than 10 years. I live in a world of darkness with a few sprinkles of light. But Saturday I stepped into a hole filled with despair. Fortunately Kathy was there to rescue me.
In the midst of his despair Jonah found hope. I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
In the midst of the darkness Jonah found a bright spot. He remembered that God hears him, sees him, and will lift him from his dark place.
You may be depressed because of your marriage, or your family situation, it can be your body is not working like it used to, or your mind is not working like it used to. Or some of these things are happening to people you love.
The only hope for the depressed person is to focus on the bright spots. Focus on the people who love you. Focus on God who loves you. There are bright spots if you will look for them. As you focus on them the darkness will fade away and the warmth of God’s love will surround you again.
And the fish puked Jonah out onto the dry land.