The next Lenten read was also by Pricilla Shirer. It was, Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected, and used the story of Jonah and his run from God. Jonah was told to go preach to a group of unlikable people who had caused harm to Jonah’s family, community, and country. Jonah said thanks God but no thanks. I’ll take a boat to the other end of the world. However, Jonah found out that no matter how remote and relaxing a place is, nothing fills the void of abandoned purpose.
When Jonah was tossed overboard, he was swallowed by a fish. The author tells us that the name of fish was Grace; because without God’s Grace, Jonah would have died once he was tossed overboard. He could not have survived three days in the open seas. As uncomfortable and stinky as the inside of the fish was, it saved Jonah’s life. Talk about Grace Under Pressure. Can you imagine being Jonah and having to choose between the open seas and the inside of a large fish?
Having be saved by the God’s Grace in the form of a fish, Jonah repented and went to Nineveh. Repentance means getting off the freeway at the first exit and turning around. Jonah danced the dance of the redeemed. The lesson is don’t try to go to the whole world (especially if you are running away). Go only to the one place whose great needs God has opened your eyes to see. Risk yourself and prepare yourself to do that which the Lord commands. God will show you where the needs are, and will show up before you can get there preparing the way for your arrival.
The author reminds us that interruptions are a way of life and a way of learning. Interruptions call for surrender. Relax in the knowledge that God’s got your back. Recognize that life interruptions are actually divine interruptions. Will you yield or run off like Jonah? Will you trust and follow? Will you say as Jonah finally did, “I not only want God’s presence in me, I want God’s presence on me.”
Cite: Shirer, P. (2011). Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, Inc.