Athlete, We Can Be Saved From Turmoil
Jonah 2:5-7 (NIV)
“The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But You, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, to Your holy temple.”
I’m thankful that I’m dealing with my mental health better and better each day as of late. My mind mostly stays calm now, even during the difficult times. I work on finding more positive ways to let my mind take a break from whatever issue may be bothering me.
With my mind being under less stress, I’m finding out more things about myself. I see myself getting more creative the healthier my mind becomes. Conversations with people are more interesting than before, I can listen better. I feel that I have more access to memories that used to be blocked off.
I take more time to reflect on how far I’ve come in my mental health journey. I remember those extremely difficult days when times were very hard, and I couldn’t find a way out.
Mental high points happened more often when my emotions spiked. I even tried fleeing from the Lord, because I felt ignored and alone. There were times I should have gone to the Lord sooner, but I had to learn to let go.
It’s not always healthy to look back in the past, but for me it shows me how even when times were hard, my faith grew when I saw the Lord’s grace and mercy, when He brought me out of that life of darkness and misery. He wanted me to see where I am today and all of the things He had planned for me.
In today’s verse, the writer tells the story of Jonah and the whale. Jonah originally fled from the Lord when the Lord asked him to go and preach in Nineveh. Jonah thought that he could outrun the Lord on a boat, but the Lord brought on a storm and the sailors on the boat got scared and threw Jonah overboard.
God had a big fish swallow Jonah, and he was stuck in the fish for three days and three nights. Jonah called on God to help him, and the Lord had the fish spit him out.
I always like hearing the story of Jonah, my imagination just tries to put together what that experience would’ve been like for him. I remember reading a story back in 2021 of a lobster diver being swallowed by a humpback whale, and my first thought was Jonah’s story. Thankfully, the whale spit the diver out after about 30 or 40 seconds.
There are moments where trials may make you feel afraid, or anxious, depressed, or even may make you want to flee. Slow things down, and call on God who is always there waiting to take the load off of you.
Dean Thornton is the writer and voice behind For My King His Kingdom podcast, a Christian podcast to encourage athletes who deal with mental health issues. For more episodes, check out Dean’s website and follow For My King His Kingdom on Apple Podcasts and Audible.