“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.” — Proverbs 3:5 (AMP)
My friend Lisa and I have begun attending a local Bible Study on the Book of Jonah. I am not sure what I was expecting … a study on Jonah? He was swallowed by a big fish because he did not obey God. When God speaks clearly to me, I should obey, or there will be consequences – lesson learned.
I knew I needed a more focused study time, I knew I enjoyed spending time with Lisa, and I was hopeful to meet many new sisters in Christ in this new land where we had recently moved. I suppose that is why I began attending. I have only attended one week so far, and imagine my surprise to realize how much I had overlooked in the story of Jonah. I am loving this study! The study is by Pricilla Shirer, and she immediately explains how “we’ve become so enamored by the big fish, we’ve lost sight of a big God.” So true. I am excited to share with you a little of what I have learned so far.
Pricilla refers to the story of Jonah as an example of a life interrupted. A life interrupted by God. God had plans for Jonah that were inconvenient and not at all what Jonah had envisioned for himself. I know for me, my life was interrupted when my doctor told us that I had cancer. It was interrupted again when we were told that the cancer had spread, and it was brutally interrupted when the doctor referred to me as terminal. How could this be? How could God allow this if He loved me so much? I had so many plans for my career, my family, my future. I thought these plans were good, that God was pleased with them. THIS is where the story of Jonah gets most interesting for me.
Jonah could not see that obeying God would lead to the city of Nineveh experiencing a miraculous revival, turning from its wicked ways in less than a day. He could not see that obeying God would show the Israelites for the first time the love and compassion God felt for the Gentiles. He could not see that his story would be recorded in God’s word to teach and encourage others for thousands of years. Wow. God had a big plan for Jonah, and if Jonah had his way, the mark God had planned for his life would have vanished.
A life-threatening illness is most certainly an interruption in life. But what if this interruption is a privilege? What if this is our opportunity to be used by God in ways we could never fathom? He has chosen us to fulfill the mission He has planned, and I have not stopped smiling since hearing this lesson last Friday – God has chosen ME. He has entrusted me. With what? I don’t know yet, but if it is God’s plan, it will surely be grand! It isn’t only those of us who have an illness who are privileged and chosen. Our spouses and our children have also been chosen. Those closest to us have been chosen.
Your interruption might not be a life-threatening illness, but if your life has been interrupted, you have been chosen, too! But remember, with privilege comes responsibility. When we have been chosen we must step up to do what God has called us to do. We must make a special effort to listen to and to obey His instructions. We must not miss out on the miracles of Nineveh.