“The Truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.”
How are you at interruptions? Do you take them in stride? I did not think so. Me either. If I have an agenda, I want to “get ‘er done!” I love a check mark on my TO DO LIST. I allow just enough time to get to appointments on time with no more than five or ten minutes to spare. Late is not in my vocabulary. Soooooo, traffic backed up on the interstate for miles and miles and not moving is not my idea of a great day. As a nurse, when I take care of patients, I must be flexible BUT let’s be real, my responsibilities up against the time clock do not leave time for “wrenches thrown into the cogwheel” of my shift. I have a routine! This is why my favorite patients to care for are the sickest. Then I am only juggling one or two families: their questions, concerns, and needs against the needs of who I am there for THE PATIENT!
Jesus was both the interrupter and the interrupted. Oh, did I forget to acknowledge I too can interrupt others? Hmmmmmm. Well, I have things to do! (Yes, I realize that is selfish! I am working on it!)
When Jesus came to earth He interrupted the life of two families: Mary’s and Joseph’s. His birth interrupted the night of the shepherds and the year of the wise men. When Jesus began His ministry He interrupted the lives of twelve men He called to follow Him for the next three years and then into eternity. On the road to Damascus, Jesus interrupted a conversation about His death, burial and resurrection. And, maybe the most astonishing interruption of all was that of Saul the persecutor of believers. Divine interruptions changed lives. If Christ interrupts your life, it will change. No doubt about it.
Interruptions are a temptation. They can cause us to sin. They are inconvenient, untimely, unwanted, and costly. Jesus faced many an interruption. Just a casual read through Matthew 8-9 and 14-15 reveal just how often Jesus was interrupted while He was pursuing His divine agenda. Let’s take a quick glance at who and why He was interrupted.
A leper for healing, (Matthew 8:2) a centurion wanted a servant healed, (Matthew 8:5) Peter’s mother-in-law needed healing before dinner, (Matthew 8:1) a possessed man needed freedom from demons, (Matthew 8:16) a scribe with questions and a disciple wanting time, (Matthew 8:19, 21) a storm interrupted His sleep, (Matthew 8:24) a man with palsy wanted the shaking to stop, (Matthew 9:2) a ruler wanted his daughter raised from the dead, (Matthew 9:18) a woman with bleeding crawled to touch Him and interrupted His journey toward the little girl needing to be raised from the dead, (Matthew 9:20), the blind and dumb wanted sight and a voice, (Matthew 9:28, 32) His mother and brothers wanted to intervene and take the “delusional son and brother” home, (Matthew 12:46) the crowds were constantly under foot, (Matthew 14:13) the Pharisees had questions and accusations (Matthew 15:1) and a Canaanite woman wanted to be as important as the Jews to Jesus. (Matthew 15:22) Does this make you want to weep or scream in aggravation?
Jesus “was moved with compassion” and healed all of them! (Matthew 9:36 and 14:14) He answered the questions, touched gently, restored life, and woke up from much needed rest to deal with fear and faithlessness. Not a cross word. Not a bit of disgust. No franticness. It was as if each one who came was the only one around and they had His undivided attention. Life being lived in slow motion. He leaned into the moment and saw it as divine. A divine appointment for both He and the ones who came.
Do we grasp He was on a timeclock? He only had so much time to get His mission accomplished. Yet, He saw each interruption as a gift: Worthy of attention. He saw each interruption as from the Father and He saw the “image of God” in each one. (Genesis 1:27)
Priscilla Shirer has a study on the book of Jonah. It is about a life interrupted. I recommend it! Can we begin to follow the example of Christ Jesus and see each interruption in our life as an invitation to look at the image of the invisible God present in another, an invitation to slow down and see or be fully seen, an invitation to stop and worship? Are we missing the best life by trying to have a good life? It is a question we need to answer and begin to practice. We like Jesus have an expiration date. We each only have a specific number of days. (Psalm 139:16, Job 14:15) We can waste them in busyness or we can walk as Jesus walked receiving the life God brings to us as we are going our way. (Psalm 90:12)
Jesus did not see these as an interruptions. All these individuals and we are the reason He came. You are not an interruption to Jesus. He is making His way toward you and walking at just the right pace to intersect with you when you decide to come to Him! He deeply desires to meet your needs! He will change your life and it will never be the same! This is how we discover God’s purpose for our one amazing life meant only for you and me.
“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) Jesus too was interrupted by His Father.
(As I wrote this article, unknown to either Freda or I we were both writing on time and the song by Jim Croce, Time in a Bottle came to mind. Time is a valuable commodity. Listen again to this classic but this time, listen to the lyrics as if sung to you by the Lord Himself. He is inviting us to spend eternity with Him!)
Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce
Treading in slow motion,