Interrupted (Jonah, Part 7)

Written by Julie

On April 1, 2022

… The mariners come to fear the Lord not only because He rescues them from the storm, but because He sends the storm in the first place. God graciously interrupts the rhythm of their lives with hardship so that they might clearly see their need for Him.

Joanna Kimbrel, “Kindness in the Storm,” Mercy in the Storm: a study on the book of Jonah

In Sailors Saved Because of Sin, I wrote that because Jonah sinned and ran–more correctly, because God used even his sin–the sailors who feared many gods came to fear the One True God.

The sovereign God directed Jonah to these sailors and sent the storm so that they could come to experience His power and mercy, to know Him.

I love, love, love the last sentence in that quote: “God graciously interrupts the rhythm of their lives with hardship so that they might clearly see their need for Him.

How many times does God interrupt the rhythm of our lives with hardship so we will perhaps clearly see our need for Him?

We still have a choice. We must choose to recognize and surrender and serve and worship. Both the sailors and Jonah experienced the storm; the sailors saw their need and turned to God, while Jonah–well, it’s a little hard to tell with Jonah. He seems to recognize God’s goodness and deliverance and says he will sacrifice to God “with the voice of thanksgiving” (Jonah 2:9), but he also talks about God casting him out of His sight into the sea, wants the Ninevites dead, gets angry when God spares the Ninevites, etc.

But I don’t want to focus on the sailors or on Jonah. I want to focus on you and on me.

It can be so easy to fall into a rut, go through a routine, and live life as same-old-same-old. Perhaps we get comfortable, know what to do and expect, feel like we’ve got it under control. Perhaps we get tired of it sometimes and wish for more (but not much changes, not for long). Perhaps we get apathetic, stop caring about–well, much of anything. Perhaps we love this ordinary life and do well in it.

So when hardships, storms, tests, whatever-you-want-to-call-them come, what do we do? When God interrupts our lives’ rhythm, how do we react?

After Jonah is thrown overboard, while the storm stops and the sailors praise God, a fish/whale swallows Jonah.

… Not only is this event a demonstration of God’s power, but also of His mercy. Jonah’s stay in the belly of the fish will not lead to his death, but this unlikely vehicle is a source of God’s rescue. Jonah’s three day and three night stay in his watery prison without food or fresh water may not seem like grace at the time, but God has plans to work even in this uncomfortable near-death experience. God certainly could lift Jonah out of the waters and place him on dry land unharmed, but there is far more at stake than Jonah’s physical comfort and safety. God intends to transform his very heart.
Oftentimes, God’s grace shows up in surprising ways, and we may fail to recognize what He has ordained as His kindness. … We could be blissfully unaware that we are sinking down toward our death, and God’s unglamorous rescue feels like an unwelcome and painful interruption. …

Joanna Kimbrel, “Sovereign God,” Mercy in the Storm: a study on the book of Jonah (underlining added)

In November 2019, I wrote about the pigs drowning while a man was freed from demons, about how maybe a bad thing happens here because a good thing happens there or maybe the bad makes way for the good. People’s life rhythms were interrupted, and many weren’t happy; they asked Jesus to leave (Mark 5:17). But the light–Light–broke through the dark in one man’s life and graciously interrupted his rhythm, and it was worth it, it was good. {By the way, check out this post by Michelle about this story!}

Perhaps God’s rescue will come through unlikely means. Perhaps, at the time, it will feel more like punishment than grace. Perhaps our physical comfort and safety, our emotions and wants, etc. will be “ignored” in favor of our spiritual health and our transformation. Perhaps we’ll be surprised at the ways God’s grace appears. Perhaps we won’t recognize His kindness, won’t realize what He is doing. Perhaps we’re “blissfully unaware” that we’re in trouble, we’re traveling down the wrong path, we’re dying. Perhaps God’s deliverance will seem like an unglamorous, unwanted, unexpected, unpleasant interruption.

But it is worth it, it is good. He is good.

		
Julie

Julie

Hi, I'm Julie, a 17-year-old lover of books, music, and Jesus. I'm finishing up my junior year in high school (Abeka Academy) and have been blogging for two and a half years. I also co-publish a digital magazine called Priceless geared toward teen girls. My desire is to use my words to glorify my Saviour and to encourage you in your walk with God. I'd love to hear from you!

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