Have you noticed how often we get upset about time?
It seems like we often complain about it. We can be running out of it or feel like it is making us wait too long. We (even those who are not rigid) tend to have some sort of schedule for our day more days than not. Sometimes there are set appointments and then there are the things we just hope to do (or not do) in a day.
Maybe it is predictability we desire or perhaps it is control that we wish for. Whatever our situation we are not very amenable to interruptions much of the time despite living with an assurance they will occur. Sometimes we can manage them fairly well, but if we are on a deadline or focused on a project it’s not something we will rejoice about.
It can be easy to forget that God is the author of time and always has been.
That doesn’t mean we take no responsibility for stewarding it, but that we develop a more realistic appraisal for how much of it we can manage. It is far too easy to make a commitment with a realistic expectation we can fulfill it and yet fail to include the possibilities that might impact that plan. It can be as routine as a car problem or a cold, a homework crisis we need to walk a child through or a senior relative who has a need we cannot ignore in the moment.
I am aware I have much to learn in this area. I see that over and over again as I read about the life of Christ. Page after page in the gospels show us one example after another where He is interrupted, and that interruption never seems to ruffle his mood or attitude. Invariably the interruption adds to our knowledge of Him and results in a miracle or two.
Jesus is teaching a group of teachers and religious leaders around Him who had traveled a great distance to hear Him. There are several men trying to help a man who was paralyzed laying on a bed get in to hear Him and maybe receive a miracle as He had done other places, but there is no way into the crowded room. They come up with a plan to open up the roof and carefully lower the man into the room where Jesus is teaching. Talk about an interruption! (Luke 5:17-39)
The teachers of the law and religious leaders are none too happy and Jesus knows exactly what they are thinking. He uses them as an example and in the midst of this interruption heals the man.
We see Jesus seeking solitude and going off to be alone and yet crowds follow Him over and over again. His disciples even interrupted Him while he was sleeping when a storm arose, and they were in fear on the sea.
Often Jesus is interrupted while He is traveling from one point to another. In one case Bartimaeus is healed of his blindness on the road to Jericho. At another point while He is on his way, He notices Zacchaeus up in a tree and that interruption results in salvation coming to Zacchaeus.
God uses interruptions to alert us to see something we did not notice.
If we pause, we might recognize why He wanted us to make note of what we were missing and how He might want to use it.
At another time Jesus was asked to come to the home of Jairus, a man of position, so that He can heal his daughter who is very ill. On his way there, a woman who is of low estate touches the edge of his robe. (She doesn’t even warrant a name in the scripture that tells the story.) Her desire is healing from an “issue of blood” she had for 12 years that would have meant she was labeled “unclean”.
Clearly Jesus is urgently needed in the household of Jairus to attend his ill daughter and Jairus is a man of importance, but when the woman touches the robe of Jesus He stops and asks her what she needs. Her answer brings his response back of a healing. And in the midst of this great thing, Jairus finds out his daughter has died. He might well wonder at the delay to care for this woman, this interruption could have made the difference. But Jesus tells him not to be concerned because his daughter will be okay.
How much I/we can all learn from these examples and others like them?
We can be on our way to something important, but an interruption may point to something the Lord sees we should attend to. If that is the case, He will surely help us with that very important thing that is delayed.
Read the wise words of C.S. Lewis:
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely real life – the life God is sending one day by day.”