Jonah: When God Loves You Enough to Interrupt You

If you know anything about the NFL, you know there’s a provision made that several times a game one of the head coaches can throw a red flag onto the field and question a certain call. When the coach does this, he’s pretty much saying the judgment on the field was not right, and they need to re-evaluate the decision. Many times these challenges will altar the game, changing an interception into an incompletion, or a set back into a first down.

Challenges are interruptions. When that red flag is thrown, everything stops and things are re-evaluated and often times re-routed. I read recently there’s an actual proposal on the table to give coaches the right to challenge every play. There’s no chance that’s going to happen. People don’t like interruptions.

Neither do I. I hate getting interrupted. Ask my kids. It’s not a good thing if they try to cut in while their mother and I are having a conversation or on the phone. Interruptions like canceled flights and flat tires drive me up a wall. But the older I get, the more I’m warming up to the idea that interruptions are just part and parcel of what it means to be human.

Interruptions are also how God works. He cuts in on Abram (Later to be called Abraham), calling an audible and telling him to leave his home. God shows up abruptly to Moses through a burning bush, re-routing him back to Egypt. And on a Damascus road, Jesus blinds Saul, transforming him from a persecutor to a preacher. God has an uncanny habit of interrupting us. 

This week we start a new series at ALCF on the life of Jonah. There’s no way we can understand him without getting our arms around a God who interrupts. The dictionary defines the term interrupt as to cause to make a break in continuity. To interrupt is to break away from the norm. We see this immediately with Jonah. God tells him to go one way, Jonah goes another, and God interrupts him by sending a storm and a whale to get him back on course. No, God didn’t interrupt Jonah to be mean or vindictive. In fact, God’s interruption of Jonah was actually the most loving, kind and gracious thing he could do. Think about it. If Jonah doesn’t get interrupted by God, he has no real legacy outside of the one other verse in which he’s mentioned in the Bible (When Jesus mentions him in other places it’s in connection with the book of Jonah). We’re talking about Jonah today only because of God’s gracious interruption in his life.

What Jonah teaches us is that there is a direct relationship between the legacy of our faith, and our willingness to embrace God’s interruptions in our lives. The people I mentioned before—Abraham, Moses and Saul—are all men we continue to look to for guidance. Why? Well, let me say it this way: I don’t think we’re talking about any of them, if they had not yielded to God’s gracious interruptions. If we want a life that really counts trans-generationally, we must be willing to bend to God’s interruptions. This is the lesson of Jonah.  

Why does God interrupt us? How do I know He’s interrupting me? What are some practical ways that I can respond to God’s interruptions? We’ll begin to answer these questions this week at Abundant Life. If you’re not a part of our church, you can track with us via podcast.  

I’m so excited to share this word with you, beginning this week.

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