Jonah and Me

IMG_8486A few weeks ago, I joined a group of ladies from my church in a new Bible study—Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. We’ve all had lives interrupted by various circumstances, both good and bad, but I didn’t feel the study actually pertained to me. Aside from the time spent with the sweet ladies in the group, I wondered if I could be wasting my time in this particular study.

To me, an interrupted life is one where God is calling me to do something that I don’t have time for, don’t feel qualified for or just don’t want to do. Call it anything you want, but it all comes down to the same thing—disobedience. That’s not me, surely. I quit a full-time teaching position to delve into the task of writing because it’s what God called me to. And it’s something I wanted, too.

However, over the last few weeks, I’ve had to drag myself to my computer—and only after completing every other task that’s suddenly become a priority. In the back of my mind, I’m asking God why it’s so all-fired important that I write when I’m in “wait” mode. My agent sent my proposals out a few weeks ago, and it could be months before we receive a response. And if that response is a no? Well, then, why am wasting all this time writing books no one will ever read? After all, I could be making a difference in the lives of a classroom full of students. Wouldn’t that be better time spent?

I have to say, God doesn’t generally keep me waiting long for an answer—especially when I need a little divine discipline. I opened up my devotional this morning, Jesus Calling, and the first sentence in today’s piece is Trust Me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them. Hmmm. Sounds like He’s talking to me! Then I opened the study of Jonah and was faced with this task: Prayerfully consider the following questions regarding your current divine interruption. Are you having more trouble with what God has asked you to do, how God has asked you to do it or where God asked you to do it?

I didn’t think this question pertained to me at all. I’m doing the writing, aren’t I? And, of course, I have no problem doing it from the comfort of my own home. It took me a few moments, though, to realize that I’m struggling with how God has asked me to do it. I pondered this for a few moments before moving on in the study. On the next page, Priscilla Shirer wrote: The work God is trying to do in you requires your full participation. You will find the rewards when you subscribe completely to what He asks and do the tasks how and where He asks. Yeah, He’s definitely talking to me!

There have been many times I’ve wondered how I would respond if God asked me to do something truly difficult—like Jonah being sent to Nineveh to give the people (Jonah hated) God’s message of love and mercy. Jonah figured it would be the death of him, and even if it wasn’t, he certainly didn’t want redemption for this disobedient community. Would I go? Since I can’t seem to stay the course when God’s put me into a position of comfort, doing something I love, it’s doubtful I’d be up to a task such as Jonah was given.

Philippians 2:8 states “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

I’ve read this verse so many times, and each time, I vow to be a humble and obedient servant in response to what Christ did for me. Humble and obedient. That means I don’t elevate myself above Him and think I have a better plan. I don’t know what God’s plan is, but I know, regardless of whether my books ever see the light of day, He has a plan in the journey. It’s not my place to question it. And rather than dragging myself to my computer, I will be not only be a humble and obedient servant, but strive to be a joyful one as well.

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