Women’s Devo | July 2020
Surrendering to Life’s Interruptions
If you are reading this devotion right now, the common denominator that we globally share is a major life interruption. Quarantine, social distancing, ‘shelter in place’, and staying at home, are just a few of the phrases that I am referring to in ourlife interruption. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lord quickly pricked my spirit and nudged me to call our church ladies together for a time of devotion and prayer. Well, as you are aware, we could not meet face-to-face; therefore, we sharpened our technology skills and began a 7-week book study titled “Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected” by Priscilla Shirer. This study about the interrupted life of Jonah has spoken profound words and revelation into our lives. Please allow me to take you on an abbreviated journey through Jonah’s interrupted life. Read carefully and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart because I feel certain that you will identify, in some manner, with the detour that Jonah took.
Interruptions can be frustrating! Life interruptions can spark feelings of fear, uncertainties, anxiousness, and worry. Not all life interruptions are bad or dreadful. Some life interruptions may spark love, excitement, adventure, and new doors of opportunity. Think about and jot down some life interruptions that you have experienced: a new career, a job lost, birth of a child, death of a loved one, marriage, divorce, sickness, dreams planned, dreams shattered. So, if you didn’t find yourself in any of those lived experiences, I can go on and include this – “Covid-19 quarantine”! There you go, that’s you, me, the entire nation living an interrupted and uncertain life right now.
The story of Jonah is a prime example of a major life interruption. Although it is a brief book in the bible with four short chapters, it speaks volumes to the experience of walking in obedience or disobediencein the midst of a life interruption. Jonah was a prophet, well respected, held in high regards in his community near Nazareth. Jonah was given a direct order from God.
“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me”
(Jonah 1: 1-2)
When the word of the Lord spoke to him with a direct objective, Jonah’s world as he knew it was shaken to the core causing an abrupt interruption. Actually, Jonah arose and proceeded in the exact opposite direction from what had been commanded. Did you realize that Jonah was the only prophet in the bible that ran from the calling and will of God? Jonah was not excited about the command given and definitely did not embrace his marching orders. This was not the news that Jonah wanted to hear! Therefore, Jonah was not about to surrender to the will of God.
How do I handle situations that do not go my way? When life is interrupted or takes a detour, am I going to run from God’s plans or am I going to allow God to accomplish His perfect will in me? Life’s interruptions are often God’s way of doing something better in us! If I run from God’s will and call, am I also running from His blessing? Sometimes what we perceive as a life interruption is actually a divine intervention. What we think may be an annoying ‘setback’ may be a ‘set up’ for something greater.
As women (and humans), we tend to put conditions on surrendering to God’s will: I will go as long as…………; I will help with that as long as……….; I will follow you as long as…………; I will give my resources as long as…………. Ladies, we must remember that we are in a divine partnership with God! That partnership is sealed with trusting His word and obeying His voice. Surrendering to the will of God is not easy. No, it’s not always fun. The path is not always clearly lit. Sometimes the challenge is great! Sometimes I feel like God is asking too much; I’m not equipped for this; I am inadequate to do that. Even times when we are in the midst of a life interruption that we want to scream, “God, is this the best that you’ve got for me?”
As believers, as women of God, HE wants us to be totally convinced that anything HE leads us to do or allows us to endure is of more importance than what we were doing before! (Whoa, read that again!) Remember, life interruptions are often God’s way of doing something better!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”
Jonah was convinced that he had a legitimate reason for running from God’s will. That land was wicked and evil. Jonah felt like the Ninevites were not worthy of God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Jonah had an allegiance to the Israelite people! Jonah was able to talk himself right out of following through with God’s will and plan. He had justifiable reasons to back himself up! Well, we know that did not end well for Jonah. Oh and one more thing – The calling on Jonah’s life did not subside just because he suffered through the consequences of disobedience. In chapter 3 of the book of Jonah, “and the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time”. Even in our disobedience and unwillingness to surrender at times, the call of God over our lives still remains!
What is God nudging you toward that is not on your prayer list?Is there some sort of ‘life interruption’ that God has called you specifically to fulfill in the kingdom? Are you willing to go with God when He is calling you to ‘Nineveh’ even if ‘Nineveh’ goes against everything you want to be doing right now? Making sense of God’s will may not ever come but God’s word and His promises are enough to give you the boldness and courage that it takes to embrace your ‘life interruption’.
So what if I run from God’s will as Jonah did? Well, Jonah got a second chance. Jonah was given a second call to follow God’s will. God will continue to pursue you as he pursued Jonah! The goodness of God will run after you! His grace, mercy, and love will cover you! God specializes in second chances, unmeasurable grace, a deep abiding love for us, and the ability to never give up on us!
As sure as God is a ‘God of second chances’, we can be sure that His spirit will guide and equip us to sustain us during the interruptions of life. When we are obedient and responsive to His will, God’s anointing and power will pull things out of us that we never knew existed such as boldness, truth, and authority. Remember, when we surrender in obedience to God’s divine interruptions, His word and work through us, not only impacts us but will overflow into others around us.
So, arise and go after your ‘Nineveh’! God has ordered your steps! So, He is sure to provide the resources, give you the words to say, and prepare the hearts before you arrive! God is already there waiting on you to arrive! Now go!
Jamie Dawson is a wife, mom and works a career outside of home and ministry. Jamie and her husband, Kevin, have been married for 30 years and served in full time ministry for 27 years. For the past 5 years, they have been lead pastors at Tift Avenue Church of God in Tifton, Georgia. Jamie has worked in public education for 27 years and is currently the principal of G.O. Bailey Elementary School in Tifton. They have two children, Joshua (23), and Emily (20), who attend Lee University. Jamie enjoys spending time with family, riding bicycles, outdoor adventures and taking a walk on the beach! As a family, they love spending time together in the summer working COG youth camps!