Desperate Times (Jonah Week 3)

By August 23, 2010Jonah

In our third week of Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer, we look at what happens when one disobeys God, and allows her life to get off track. Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. Even worse, he did not want the Ninevites to experience God’s redeeming love and grace. He judged them, and declared them guilty with no means for restitution. God saw them through a different light, and knew they would repent and radically change their lives in order to serve Him. Jonah wanted no part of it, so he ran away not giving a thought to God’s plan or what he may encounter. I doubt Jonah would have counted on being tossed overboard on a ship during a storm and being swallowed by a fish. That is what is so amazing about God. Often, when He moves, it is in such a way that one cannot doubt that it is Him.

That is what happened to Jonah. When the storm raged, he knew it was because of his disobedience to God, and told the sailors to throw him overboard in order to calm the seas. They did just that, but instead of drowning, he was swallowed by a fish. Clearly, God moved in this situation in order to save His servant. Jonah still suffered consequences for his actions, but God saved him. Seeing that, he immediately prayed to the Lord. At that moment, he submitted to God and His plan, even though he did not like it.

We do the same thing as Jonah. We mess up. We seek out our own path because it looks good, feels good, or it seems easier. Sometimes, we think we are doing it for God. In those moments, it is entirely possible for us to be so busy trying to work for God that we forget to seek Him to join Him on what He was planned. We do our work and ask for His blessing instead of asking Him to bless us with His work. Life just works better when we are on the path that God has called us to, doing the tasks that He has told us to.

When we fail to follow God’s plan, things can become a mess. We screw up and hit rock bottom thinking that there is no way that God can use us now. It is in those times that God sometimes uses us the most. Priscilla said this in the video, “God can take the biggest mess and turn it into the greatest miracle.” It is when people see His hand that He gets the glory. God gives us this promise:

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Our mess becomes His miracle. I am a walking testimony to that. I got so busy doing things for God that I did not even stop to consider what He wanted. After a series of events that tore all of my security out from under me, He was the only one I could turn to, and I cried out to Him. The days I lived in darkness before coming to Him were some of the worst days of my life. While I would never want to go through them again, I can see how God has used it for His glory. He has restored my heart, and has given me a clear vision for ministry. The hurts I faced in those days are being used to minister to other women who are walking the same path. God will make good from what was meant as evil.

Are you currently walking down a path that you chose in order to get away from God’s call? Have you recently experienced a Divine Interruption? If you have, it is not too late. Cry out to God in prayer. Ask Him to help you turn from your ways and align yourself with His. No matter how far in the depths you feel, God can and will redeem you. There may be discipline, but it is for your good and His glory. Walk with Him. It is the sweetest walk you can take.

Prayer Requests

If you have a prayer request for our prayer wall, please click here. Please print a copy of the prayers and pray for the women participating in this study.

Priscilla Shirer Quotes

  • The goal is to revive so that He can realign.
  • True repentance requires a change in direction.
  • Purposeful prayer must engage our mind, will and emotion.

This Week’s Scripture Verses-NASB

Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:22

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; That which I have vowed I will pay; Salvation is from the LORD.” Jonah 2:9

For Next Week

  • Read Week Four, pages 81-101 in the workbook
  • Listen to the Session Four Audio (optional)
  • OR…Listen to the Session Four Video (optional)

Group Discussion- Answer one question or as many as you like

  1. How do you act when you are going in the wrong direction in life?What spiritual signs can you look for to reveal you are headed in the wrong direction? (page 59-60)
  2. Is the Lord allowing divine discipline in your life right now and if so, do you yield or fight? (page 64)
  3. Is any comfort or sin keeping you from yielding to God’s divine intervention? Why is this hard for you to let go? (page 66)
  4. On the bottom of page 69 you prayed in four key areas. Which of these areas are satisfactory or challenging for you: grace, repentance, obedience or loving Ninevites?

Laying Down My Life,


Author WBC

Find online bible studies for women at the Womens Bible Cafe. It's also a place where you can meet other Christian women from around the world and fellowship together. If you're unable to a attend a church small group bible study then the Bible Study Cafe is just right for you! Look under "Current Studies" to see what we're reading. Bring your book and let's study the Word together.

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Join the discussion 43 Comments

  • Victoria says:

    1. Depending on the situation I will either be put together and ok or I want to throw in the towel.

    2. The $$$ struggle is a discipline. We must learn to do well with what we have.

    3. Control. It’s hard for me to let go. I know that I’m not in control, but I try to be.

    4. Loving my Ninevite

  • Nickie says:

    1. when I am on the wrong path I tend to blame others and actually run from my problems. when things dont go my way, I want to RUN. Then when I cant sleep at night, I feel like I am beeing pulled to go and appoligize, ask for help, love someone, ask for forgiveness… it is hard to humble yourself but with God all things are possible, and he will reward us also 🙂

    2. I am in a divine disipline financially and I tend to fight and then accept. It has been a struggle but it feels good to be where God wants you even if it is not always the easy thing to do and I have to say NO to alot of extra activities.. still smiling

    3. I feel that I have been led to lead a beth moore class this fall but I have been very hesatint… I dont want to fail, uncomfortable putting myself out there, commitment, knowledge, but I have submitted to his intervention and feel much better…it has been a long time coming… still smiling

    4. it is totally loving Ninevites… I generally love everyone but that one person can totally ruin my day. and I am not good at faking it.. I have been praying about the love that I am to have for some people 🙁 that has been totally on my heart.. god grant me the Love of God for a few others..

    blessing to all of you women…. I am still in the bottom of the group… love this study

  • Nicole says:

    #1) When I’m on the wrong path things seem to go wrong. I know then I’m not doing what I’m suppose to be doing. He wants me to turn to him for even the smallest problem. He will guide me and show me the way.

  • Jennifer Deffendall says:

    1. I had a Garmin but it died. I realized that I had been realizing on it more then I should. Know when I have to go somewhere I use the directions on line and print them. I am working on trying to in the right direction in life. However, life can take you in the wrong direction. I believe that the first thing that turned my life around was doing the bible studies on line. Learning the scriptures has been enjoyable. So I believe I am going the right way now.
    2. Yes. I am at 98% of yielding to it.
    3. Yes. I think so. It is hard sometimes to let go of the past. It stays with you for no reason. I think part has to do with having possessions that you have, that you don’t need. Some items could go with no problem and such as letting forgiven people in the past.
    4. I believe all are satisfactory or challenging for me. Life is something that you have to work. You have care for everyone no matter what. People will irk you, walk over you, and say mean things about you. But you have get through and you will get through it no matter what if you will listen to him.

  • Christine says:

    My Navigation Tools from Week 3 (they will be different than yours):

    ~Look for signs from God that I’m headed in the wrong direction.
    ~Look for and accept God’s discipline.
    ~Align myself with God, always.
    ~Go with God’s will, not mine.
    ~Depend on scripture verses for desperate prayers.

    note: in a desperate prayer when my daughter was in ER, I went into the ER bathroom, got on my knees and prayed scripture verses. When desperate, your mind is unfocused and unable to relax with casual prayer….so jump into scriptures you’ve memorized for such as day as this! I also carry a small scripture book inside my purse….and when I’m in ER (again) and hear other children in crisis, I pull out the book and start praying. Always carry a prayer book with you. I prayed for a baby who drowned, the neighbor brought him blue and unresponsive, and his mom was nowhere to be found. So I prayed for her child until I heard his cough and cry, and saw a helicoptor take him away just as his mom arrived. He lived and I was there with my daughter’s broken finger, sitting in the room next door, praying with my little prayer book.

  • Mary Ann says:

    Did I say I LOVE this group? If I didn’t—–


    • Christine says:

      We LOVE you to Mary Ann! Thanks for the consistent comments and interaction…it brings warmth to the study.

      • Mary Ann says:

        I enjoy it Christine. Sometimes I think I’m being overly “chatty.” I don’t mean to be and try to only leave worthwhile comments.

  • Lisa says:

    I’m having trouble with several questions on Day 2 (Wk 3). Any insight will be welcomed!!! Second question on page 63 and second question on page 64.

    • Shannon says:

      Hey Lisa! I’d be more than happy to try to help you out with this. Some of these questions can be confusing at times!

      On page 63, I believe the question you are referring to is about Jonah 1:16. Jonah acknowledged and admitted that the fierce storm they were encountering was because of him. He also knew the way they could stop it was to throw him overboard. He surrendered himself to that discipline. Because what he said was true, and his willingness to do it, the sailors feared the Lord and made sacrifices to Him. I believe this question is asking how our own behavior in this situation would have impacted the sailors. Would they have been saying the same thing or something else?

      On page 64, I believe the question you are referring to is about Jonah 1:13. In this passage, we see that Jonah has told the sailors what needed to be done in order to calm the storm, but they wanted to try a different route. Same thing as Jonah right? God told him to go to Ninevah, but he wanted to do something else. Jonah witnessed the disobedience of the sailors once they were told how to calm the seas, and the fact that the sea just became rougher. He probably saw himself in some way. What do you think he may have learned from that?

      I hope that helps! If I didn’t get the right questions, or you have any more, just let me know! Be blessed!

  • Joeanna says:

    When I am going in the wrong direction I have no peace. I stop praying and reading my bible. I feel lost.. but I don’t fight hard enough to get close to anyone.

    Divine Disipline right now with money, I don’t do a good with my money. I want to obey.. I will make a buget again, and try to stick to it.

    I am afraid to get close to other Christians in church because I have been burned by many people.

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Joeanna,

      I’m not sure how many times you’ve tried to budget, but one thing I wanted to share (I hope it’s not a repeat of what you already know. If it is, I apologize.)

      In order to set up a budget, you really discover your true spending habits. So, for 30 days, take a little note pad, if you have one, if not a piece of paper separated into 30 days. As you go through the 30 days, write down everything you buy—good or bad, whether you think you should or shouldn’t…don’t change your spending. Then, after 30 days, separate each expense into a category (dining out, groceries, utilities, money you blew, entertainment, cell, etc.)

      Now, look at each category and see where you can cut back. If you’re like most people, food is that place.

      Just start cutting back in one area—that the amount that you are cutting and put it in a savings account that you will not touch. This is for emergencies only (i.e. emergencies are things like the car breaks down, not a friend wanted to go out to eat and you didn’t have the money left.)

      Again…I apologize if this is stuff that you already know…

  • Vanda says:

    1. Stop, turn around, start over.
    Spiritual signs – no peace, nagging feeling like something is not right, confusion.

    3. What this study did was to bring out events and issues that
    a. I’ve done in the past and hope that they never ever appear again – like earlier wrong relationships that i’ve not admitted was wrong;
    b. I don’t want to think about – like should we have another child?

    For a, I think I’ve already accepted that I did wrong in some way and I’ve faced discipline in other ways but I’ve never really prayed for forgiveness – until this study. The real reason was that I didn’t think it was disobedience, I looked at it as a matter of choice and I made the wrong choices. I admit now that it had pained God that I did not think what I did was folly and I have since then prayed for forgiveness which was a heart wrenching exercise for me.

    For b, my husband would like a 3rd child but I don’t. He talks about it but he does not force the issue. He is happy with our two children but he would love to have a 3rd. For me, I’m happy with 1 child, 2 is a bonus but a 3rd is scary. I cannot go past the thought and so I don’t think about it and I don’t WANT to think about it. This study made me think about it and it is just so hard for me. Why is it so hard to let go? I know at the back of my mind that God will provide and the joy of the Lord is my strength etc. The thing is I don’t want have to worry how we will live if we have a 3rd. Time and energy wise, I’m barely managing with 2, I’m not sure I can handle a 3rd and I can’t imagine doing the whole pregnancy baby thing again. I don’t know if it is my husband’s wish (he just loves kids) or if it is God’s plan to bless us with a 3rd child (a Divine Intervention) or if I’m being disobedient for not wanting it to happen? I’ve had no peace in this matter – is it no peace because we should not have a 3rd or no peace because we should? i really don’t know and i guess instead of running away, I have to face it and pray for an answer to my Nineveh.

  • Michele says:

    1. When I am going in the wrong direction I seem to be cranky and combative. I think it is internally how I am dealing with being convicted and disciplined for doing what I know is not right. When I accept my faults, ask for forgiveness, and start moving the right direction again, my attitude gets much better.

    2. I seem to be in a season of divine discipline. I try to be humble and accept it even though sometimes I so want to point the finger at others and say “What about them?”

    3. I have a hard time letting go of being self reliant I am so driven to take care of myself. I have the hardest time yielding to anyone, including God.

    4. Although my main challenge is definitely obedience, I also struggle with sympathy for people who should “know better”. I don’t know if you would consider that Ninvites or not. I seem to be able to find more sympathy for non-Christians who must not really know any better but I have a hard time with people who claim (and brag) to be “good Christians” and then act atrociously. I am trying to accept that we all have faults and try to be more sympathetic and less judgmental. Just because I have been convicted on something doesn’t mean that others are being convicted on the same issues at that time. I so need God’s help with this to change my heart!

  • Karla says:

    I know! I know! Im way behind. Im sorry I was so excited to do this study. Im still excited by the material. And Im catching up fast. The week of the 16th my husband and I went out to the farm to help my folks. My dad just got out of the nursing home after a stroke on June 3rd. So my second week I was already a wee bit behind. So I finished up my second week of the study. Now I have to tell you I started this week I started week three with the Now what?? chapter.

    I have had a lot of now what’s in my life as of lately? Anyway I have a story to tell.

    Since Dad has gotten home he has some limitations like not being in the kitchen cooking by himself. So we would start projects and he was so excited by being home and learning what he could do and show us he wasn’t quite so limited as some thought him to be.

    As soon as I got him home he was off starting the laundry and hanging up clothes.

    He would then look at me and say “Now what??”

    I said how about we take out garbage??

    We completed the project and again he said “Now what??”

    I said how about we make meat loaf for supper? Yep Yep

    As soon as meat loaf was in oven he looked at me “Now waht??”

    I said how about sit down and rest. He looked at me and smiled so I sat down and he brought out his homework from therpy and we did that.

    Finally he napped before supper as I sat the table.

    This went on all week. He needed to relearn how to operate the microwave as he forgotten how? He was always on and in the “Now what?” mode. What’s Next? We got so much accomplished.

    So imagine as I sat down at home on Monday. Opened my Jonah bible study week Three and the first Chapter said “Now What” I laughed thinking of my Dad’s excitement to work so hard on his problems and issues and finding new ways of doing old things.

    I have been giving much thought (shall we say fifteen years) on finding the right church for me. I have went to the same church since I moved to a small town twenty years ago. Both my children are graduated and went to this church. And I have been semi active but I don’t feel like part of the woman’s group there. Everyone has been together since the beginning growing up together. I don’t know the relationships of the people there or the stories of their lives. I know more now but still don’t feel like I belong. My husband also semi active in the church has felt the same way. The last two years I have joined a group of women from another church and have been doing Beth Moore studies with them and feel so welcome. I get to laugh and enjoy their stories. I have been afraid to move to the new church it is a Evangelical church so a little more contemporary then my Lutheran past. What will people think? What will my family(parents)think leaving the Lutheran upbringing?

    But I think “Now what” this week? I think its time to step up to the plate and get going in a direction where I feel welcome where I feel part of the group and see a place for friendships to build in the Lord. I will have to talk to my husband this coming week and if he isn’t comfortable with the E-free church then we need to at least look at other Lutheran Churches in the area and find a new welcoming Church family.

    I thank God for my vacation time with my Dad and Mom. My study of Jonah coming into my life at a good moment. My “Now what Lesson” Im quite sure I have gotten some clues to some things that have been sitting and me letting it stew and just staying safe in the normal and comfortable. I hope to get unto Lesson 4 by tomorrow morning. So I can actually answer questions our leader is asking us. 🙂 Have a great week !!!

    I have enjoyed so many of your comments and your sharing is remarkable.

  • carla says:

    1. I’m not sure “how” i act but i can always count on spiritual conviction of my heart when i’m going against God’s will
    2. No. but i’m just coming out of divine discipline and though it wasn’t fun, i can clearly see why i had to go through it!
    3. No
    4. Loving Ninevites is probably my most difficult

  • Christine says:

    Session Three Audio…I hope you had a chance to download and listen to the audio session for week three…as Shannon mentioned, it’s terrific. I think this is one of my favorite audio sessions to date. So if you can spare the $3.99 to buy it, session three is highly recommended.

    PS- The Lifeway links don’t always work so you have to click them twice before you get to the correct product. 🙁

    I’m now listening to the Session Four Audio before I read week four in the workbook.

  • Sue Schwendemann says:

    My picture did not turn out. Sorry, it was of a butterfly. Will catch her later with Gods help. Was appropriate for wordless Wednesday.

    1. By not obeying Yahweh; turning back to sin (some of my sin). Than not telling Him I am sorry.
    2. Fighting divine discipline; I do not want to let go.
    3. Yes, there is comfort of sin in my life; for I do not want to lose total control of my life, turn my life over to Yahweh. For I am a control freak, and I am afraid of what may happen if I do turn my life over to Him.
    4. Challenging; OBEDIENCE

  • Sharon says:

    I just wanted to add that I spoke of a terrible habit not to focus on that but to say that I don’t feel I can move forward these days in God’s plan for my future and what He wants me to do and become until I get past this crutch I am holding on to that is not in His Will for my life.

    It is definitely an action in the wrong direction. Not to God but from Him. The one plan I feel deeply that God has for me is to care for my aging parents and I can’t do that if I am not healthy. And my ministry to the widows and those needing encouragement. All that entails that I have a turning point away from sin not hold on to it. Priscilla speaks of holding on to things that are detrimental and I am surely doing that.

  • Carin says:

    1. I usually get frustrated (sometimes that frustration turns into anger). I sometimes have a hard time finding a spiritual sign and it usually takes more than three times to get me to realize that. Sometimes I will hear something likes a verse and then that verse keeps coming up 4-5 times and I think “Oh, that is God telling me something”.

    2.Yes, the lord is financially showing my husband and I to have full faith in him. To trust fully- As I said in #1 a verse that keeps showing up this one keeps coming up and I finally taped it to my desk- Stay away from the love of money;be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you” Hebrews 13:5

    Nothing for #3 and #4

  • Lauren says:

    1. I wrote that I am directionally challenged in life and that I often make a mess of things without even meaning to… one thing I wonder is how to know what God wants me to do… I often second-guess myself and question my own intentions. One thing I do realize is that the spirit talks to me through feelings of guilt and discomfort, and I do realize that I always have the best road map through the Holy Bible.
    3. I recognize that it is hard to yield to God because I still have a hard heart sometimes. I recognize that my heart must change, that I need to change the way I act and feel… and I am trying. I am trying to be quiet and listen instead of blabbering inside of my head all the time…
    4. Lord, Help me remember Your grace for me and to offer that grace to others. Forgive me for my shortcomings… I think that I probably struggle most with grace. I am so grateful for all that God has done, and for the ultimate sacrfice of His son… but why me? Why am I worthy? and is it really so easy? Seems like I should have to do something… be something…. make some big glorious contribution to the whole formula… but- WOW- I have- I am His creation, created just for the purpose of living, breathing, and bringing him glory- through His grace, I get glory!

    • Mary Ann says:

      Oh my! Can I identify with the “blabbering inside of my head!”

      • Sue Schwendemann says:

        Me too; I sometimes just wish I could trade heads with someone. My “blabbering” goes on mostly when I try and sleep. Good way to catch my attention.

  • Sharon says:

    1.I know Priscilla says beware of the conscience but mine always seems to alert me when I am headed the wrong way. Big warning bells and the wrong that I am doing just will not leave my mind until I have taken a turn. At those times when I have made those changes I feel at peace and then can move on forward.

    2.I am fighting an addiction to smoking right now. I believe it is a sin and still I am in a battle over it. It is on my mind constantly to stop this though and never more so than when I am in prayer.

    3.The years of addiction to nicotine and old habits I am having a really hard time breaking. This is for some reason so very hard for me to do even though I pray and pray and try. I do know that when I am successful God will have given me a cleaner soul and a new strength though.

    4.Obedience is what is challenging me on the above note. I know I am to care for his body.

  • Christine says:

    1. When I go in the wrong direction, my tendency has been to blame others and give up. Today I depend on scripture verses and Christian friends to redirect me and reveal when I need correction. The bible is my “map book”

    2. After an initial fight with Him, I accepted the divine discipline.

    3. Fear of rejection, fear of conflict and fear of humiliation have blocked my path. I pray through this and God opens doors. It’s been hard to let go of something I learned 40 years ago as a child. When I was 7, I experienced rejection, conflict and humiliation and I’ve struggled to let it go.

    4. I’m satisfied with my understanding of grace and repentance. Like Jonah, I struggle with obedience or loving Ninevites when God calls me into a place of discomfort. He pulls me out of my comfort zone not to discipline, but to shower His blessings on me. My choice is to resist in fear or embrace His love.

    • Lauren says:

      I am a blamer, too! It’s always someone else’s fault… and sometimes God’s, too, for creating me this way… but I’m trying to do better!

      • Sue Schwendemann says:

        Me too!!! Always blaming someone for my wrong doing. Than that starts a fight and it just escalates from there. Thank you God for forgiving us.

    • Joeanna says:

      I have the same fears, I just didn’t have a name for them. Now I know they are fear of rejection, conflict, and humiliation.

  • Mary Ann says:

    What a true blessing this study is for me! I can say, outloud, I Am Jonah!

    1. When I go in the wrong direction, I tend to blame others for what is going on around me. It is then that God shows me his divine discipline. I get it. When I catch myself blaming others for things for which I am responsible, I know that is God’s intervention and I recognize that I need to STOP because if I do not, I will head down a path of negativity and turning from God. Praise God for showing me the “caution light.”

    2. I’m on the tale of divine discipline, praying that it will soon end. But, I gladly accept it because it confirms that I am God’s child.

    3. I believe that God is calling me to teach financial classes at my church. It’s not the subject I’m fighing, it’s the teaching. In my work, I’ve been told that I am not a good trainer, so I don’t want to be a failure as something I believe God is calling me to do. That is what is holding me back.

    4. By far, loving Ninevites is the most challenging for me. I have post it notes attached to my computer screen at work with the following verses:

    • Mary Ann says:

      sorry.. my computer went haywire and posted before I was finished (sorry this is long.)

      Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned, forgive and ye shall be forgiven. Luke 6:37

      And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the reneweing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

      Prayer and these verses are what get me through my workday.

      I’m finding grace and true repentance coming to me more easily.

      Of course, I’ve already addressed my obedience struggle.

      I’m so grateful for womensbiblecafe and those who are participating in this study! We are truly blessed, whether we are receiving divine discipline or obeying divine intervention!

      • Lauren says:

        wonderful idea about posting the verses on your computer screen! I”ll have to use that!

        • MaryAnn says:

          I think you’ll find that verses, kept near your sight line, help keep the focus on God.

          • Sharon says:

            Rom 12:2 speaks specifically to me I am in a place of being conformed to worldly things. I also think it ‘s a great idea to keep encouraging verses nearby. I typed some off to keep on my board by my sitting chair (it is hidden away just where I keep notes to the side) so I can see them at all times while watching the news or working on crafts or reading.

    • Wendy says:

      MaryAnn, Don’t fight the teaching and it does not matter what others say, just remember if God calls you he will equip you. Nothing we do for him is ever a failure. Don’t hold back, you will miss the blessing. I almost did not go into the summer mission field in Africa because I did not fill equipped; it turned out to be a “God” momement in my life. Good luck, keep all of us informed how it turns out. : ) Wendy

      • MaryAnn says:

        Thanks, Wendy. Your post is very encouraging! Wow, all I’m hesitating about is teaching, you went into the mission field. If you can do that, I can certainly teach classes on a subject in which I’m versed. In my heart, I know that God will give me the words—I just need to work on the renewing of my mind. Thanks again!

    • Joeanna says:

      The Holy Spirit will get you through it, it’s scary but God give you the tools.

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