In our third week of Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer, we look at what happens when one disobeys God and allows her life to get off track. Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. Even worse, he did not want the Ninevites to experience God’s redeeming love and grace. He judged them and declared them guilty with no means for restitution. God saw them through a different light and knew they would repent and radically change their lives to serve Him.
Jonah wanted no part of it, so he ran away not giving a thought to God’s plan or what he may encounter. I doubt Jonah would have counted on being tossed overboard on a ship during a storm and being swallowed by a fish. That is what is so amazing about God. Often, when He moves, it is in such a way that one cannot doubt that it is Him.
That is what happened to Jonah. When the storm raged, he knew it was because he disobeyed God, and told the sailors to throw him overboard to calm the seas. They did just that, but instead of drowning, he was swallowed by a fish. Clearly, God moved in this situation to save His servant. Jonah still suffered consequences for his actions, but God saved him. Seeing that, he immediately prayed to the Lord. At that moment, he submitted to God and His plan, even though he did not like it.
We do the same thing as Jonah. We mess up. We seek out our path because it looks good, feels good, or seems easier. Sometimes, we think we are doing it for God. In those moments, we can be so busy trying to work for God that we forget to seek Him to join Him in what He was planning. We do our work and ask for His blessing instead of asking Him to bless us with His work. Life just works better when we are on the path that God has called us to, doing the tasks that He has told us to.
When we fail to follow God’s plan, things can become a mess. We screw up and hit rock bottom thinking that there is no way that God can use us now. It is in those times that God sometimes uses us the most. Priscilla Shirer says this in the video, “God can take the biggest mess and turn it into the greatest miracle.” It is when people see His hand that He gets the glory. God gives us this promise:
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Our mess becomes His miracle. I am a walking testimony to that. I got so busy doing things for God that I did not even stop to consider what He wanted. After a series of events that tore all of my security out from under me, He was the only one I could turn to, and I cried out to Him. The days I lived in darkness before coming to Him were some of the worst days of my life. While I would never want to go through them again, I can see how God has used them for His glory. He has restored my heart and has given me a clear vision for ministry. The hurts I faced in those days are being used to minister to other women who are walking the same path. God will make good from what was meant as evil.
Are you currently walking down a path that you chose to get away from God’s call? Have you recently experienced a Divine Interruption? If you have, it is not too late. Cry out to God in prayer. Ask Him to help you turn from your ways and align yourself with His. No matter how far in the depths you feel, God can and will redeem you. There may be discipline, but it is for your good and His glory. Walk with Him. It is the sweetest walk you can take.
True repentance requires a change in direction. -Priscilla Shirer
Assignment For Next Week
- Read Week Four, pages 81-101 in the workbook
- Listen to the Session Four Audio (optional)
- OR…Listen to the Session Four Video (optional)