We begin our Jonah bible study today, a six-week journey into four chapters of scripture. To participate in the Bible Cafe™ study, you’ll need the workbook called Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer.

When someone asks you “How has your life been interrupted lately?” we experience the same initial response. You may roll your eyes, let out that deep sigh, sit back in your cafe chair, and prepare to tell a story of difficulty. We all have a season in life or an event that was unplanned and seemed to move us in a different direction.

What if God called you specifically by name, and told you to change course, change your life purpose and change your plan? We’re about to discover more of ourselves as we read the life of Jonah.

Let me explain why I decided to repeat this Bible Cafe™ study. During the pandemic my husband lost his job, my dog died, and I had Covid with a collapsed lung and pneumonia. My daughter was unable to move into college dorms her first year, and my life was interrupted!! God is visible and wants us to remind us to trust Him in ANY situation. Perfectly timed study!

Jonah is the story of a “life interrupted” because God uprooted the prophet. Have you ever been uprooted? God uprooted my family four years ago. Our charter school closed, we were downsizing our home and felt a strong pull from God to move. So here we are…planted like fish out of water near an occult community. Satan does not hide here.

Life changes can look different for each of us. Some might be an illness. Some might be grief. Some might be financial. Some might be relationships. But in ALL these, God never leaves and our discomfort reveals His glory and grace. Seek Him.

Interruption by definition is to “break continuity.” It disrupts the flow of something. When my life is interrupted my initial response is disbelief. As an information seeker, first I look for obvious answers and then I become a listener and wait for God. Ideally, I should go to God first and I am still learning this as my faith matures.

Having a relationship with God is an opportunity to disrupt “people’s approval.” I used to be a perfectionist, always trying to please someone when I was a child. So when I became a born-again Christian I had to relearn the safety and comfort of God’s unconditional love.

Starting a new Bible study has both challenges and opportunities. A big challenge is not writing the discussion times into my planner. If I have these as “appointments” then I am ready to SHOW UP. I am leading three online groups (work), and attending two local studies (personal). I can lose myself on the “to-do” list if I am not careful with my time and my heart. Planning is critical to completing my heart’s desires. I pray over my planner and pray again.

Another challenge I see: women will show up and look for a reason to LEAVE. It’s common in Facebook groups. The mindset is “offend me so I can walk away.” That’s social breeding. We need to be mindful of how the social mindset is NOT the mindset of God. He wants our hearts and time and attention. Walk through an offense, not away from one.

If you are starting your first Bible study then set aside 30 minutes in your planner. Not three hours, just 30 minutes a day. Be regular about the time. Not “when everything else is done” but instead do it first thing each day. Then watch God reveal Himself to YOU for the remainder of the day.

Remote online learning has both benefits and challenges. Interruptions are more common than in a church study. There are interruptions with doorbells, barking dogs, family members walking into the room, or text messages as you try to focus. It helps to remind your family .. just ONE HOUR of personal time here! Give me one hour, please.

Because of the shelter in place, we now have 4 adults using Zoom in my home. I created a “Zoom Room” and we have a schedule of when each person is using it (my office). Hopefully, this will manage interruptions.

We had to bump up our internet speed to accommodate all the Zoom users here. We also “reboot” the internet each night at bedtime, which removes the drain on the browser.

Jonah wanted to delay God’s plans. An ordinary delay (not called by God) might be a good thing. God still speaks in revelation today. He still has angels around us. He still watches the spiritual battle around us. So when God delays…that might be a blessing and not a curse!

Let’s get started!

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.