Have you ever felt the hand of God move you? Has He ever placed you squarely in the last place on earth you ever wanted to go or used undesirable circumstances to bring about desirable changes in your life? If so, then you’ve faced Jonah Moments. Maybe you’re staring down the throat of a big fish right now.
Being married to the military affords us Army Wives (and husbands) ample opportunity to experience what a friend of mine once referred to during a bible study as a “Jonah Moment.” Several months later when I spoke to her about it, she had completely forgotten using the term, but it stuck with me.
Every few years, we are quite literally picked up and moved from one place to another. Some moves are more memorable than others. More often than not, the most memorable moves tend to be associated with the phrase, “the last place on earth I wanted to go.” As a matter of fact, I don’t think a move qualifies as a Jonah Moment if you actually want to be stationed there. When we got orders to Colorado, we just called that a blessing.
My friend was talking about having been laid off from her profitable and fulfilling career after the Army moved her family to another state as she coined the phrase “Jonah Moment.” The loss of income for their household meant they would have to move on to post and make some financial cut backs. Even in the midst of pain, she was wise enough to know that God must be nudging her toward something else. Eventually, she realized this was her opportunity to go back to school and pursue her masters, which, in the long run, would make her even more marketable in her field.
The Last Place I Ever Wanted to Go
For me, my first such moment was as a junior captain, when instead of sending me to Virginia for school, I got orders for Korea. I begged them to send me anywhere else, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, back to Bosnia. The assignments officer claimed my specialty was in critical shortage in Korea. So, that is where I went. And that move changed the course of my life.
Not because I was there when 9/11 happened.
Not because I was placed in a job that was clearly outside of my area of expertise.
Not even because I was given the great opportunity to travel around Asia.
But because it was where I met the man who became my husband. And so, one of the greatest things to ever occur in my life, happened in “the last place on earth I wanted to go.”
God Uses Army Orders
As I eluded to in my Battle Plans post earlier this week, we are moving this summer. When my husband told me we had to rank order our top 100 choices from a list of 156, I thought he was kidding, because, who really cares after about number 37? I even joked that it didn’t matter where we went as long as we were together and it wasn’t FT Bragg, FT Drum, FT Bliss or FT Polk. I wasn’t completely kidding. We were really hoping for somewhere in Virginia to be close to my family for a change. When he got his assignment his in-box, we were floored.
Apparently, he spent several hours just trying to figure out how to break the news before he called me from Afghanistan. Luckily, I had just started my work out on the stationary bike, so I was going to be sitting down for a good 45 minutes. He tried to soften the blow, but I just wanted the bottom line:
Fort Polk, Louisiana.
My first reaction isn’t fit for print, but I soon came to the conclusion that God must have some seriously huge plans for us there if He was going to send us to a place that ranked 144 out of 156 on our list. I had even ranked a return trip to Korea ahead of Polk.
When You Don’t Want to Go where God Says
My husband and I had just started reading through the book of Matthew and a couple of verses I had glossed over that morning had to do with God telling Joseph where to take Mary and baby Jesus. They weren’t all places he wanted to go. Joseph trusted God and He was faithful to protect the young family.
Jonah also avoided God’s call to go to Nineveh and tried to run in the opposite direction. I’ve been telling God since 1997 that I didn’t want to go to Fort Polk. But at least I get to drive to Louisiana and don’t have to be transported there in the belly of a whale or on the back of a donkey.
I have since met some people who have been stationed there and actually love it. I see how my business has the potential to be huge there. I think there will be a lot of opportunities for my husband and sons to bond over fishing and hiking and camping, and maybe even drag Mom along. The boys and I are excited about him jumping out of airplanes again, though my husband is quite a bit more cautious about that part of the adventure. I can even see how I could quit my current shopping addiction cold turkey there…the nearest WalMart is 15 miles from post and Hobby Lobby and Michael’s are about 50 or so. Or, maybe I will finally embrace on-line shopping. I still don’t like hot and sticky, but I am starting to get excited about this new chapter in our lives.
Jonah Moments Move Us For God’s Glory
God has ways we humans cannot comprehend.
He will find a path to manifest His incredible plans in our lives. Even when we cannot fathom His reasoning for the events of our lives, He is at work with our best interests at heart. And I believe our best interests lie in heaven, not here on earth. God is going to use whatever means He has to get me and all of you there with Him.Are you up against a situation you never wanted? You may be facing a Jonah Moment... #JonahMoment #ArmyPCS Click To Tweet
What’s your Jonah Moment? What is the best thing to ever happen to you in the worst possible place you thought you could go? Can you see with hindsight how God worked on your heart there?
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope