Gloom and Deep Shadow

I can’t breathe, I can’t see, I’m drowning. The water presses in on me, squeezes me. It’s cold and getting colder. It’s black. I’m being dragged down, down, down into gloom and deep shadow. The water shudders. I gulp air—it’s gone. I’m being compressed; I’m being suffocated in steamy depths. I must be dead. If this is life, I soon shall die. Where is the air? I struggle to find it. I barely keep conscious. My mouth finds a pocket of air, sucks it in. If this is death, if this is how it goes on forever….

I know I deserve it. I brought this upon myself. My body is constricted again. I feel myself being pulled down, as if by thick, scaly hands. O Lord, save me. I must be dead. Maybe this is…forgive me, Lord, reach down and save me. Your love is great, your love endures forever. Is this how it ends? Is this my just punishment? I can’t breathe, I can’t see, I can’t move. Lord Almighty, Lord of heaven and earth, catch me before I descend completely, before I go into lands where no one praises you.

Water surrounds me, yet I can breathe, somehow. The water is hot and cold, thick and turbulent. Am I still alive? I hear his voice. I’ve not heard it since that day, the day I ran from him. He’s heard me, he’s caught me. That is why I’m no longer drowning, why I can fill my lungs with air. O Lord, you brought my life up from the depths. And I hear you saying, this is my mercy, Jonah. Understand: this is my mercy, and you must show it to others.

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