It has been a day. I ended up taking a nap today and was woken up six times by my children in thirty minutes for the following reasons:
- do I have to share my donut?
- can I call my friend?
- the phone is ringing…
- can we get a puppy?
- can you charge my camera?
- (and lastly, my favorite…wait for it) I hear jets–is the world is ending?
Oh. My sweet beautiful children. I love them so much, but wow. Tonight, my husband and I took them out to dinner. We tried to have a conversation ten times. One conversation. We never finished it. I honestly don’t even remember what we were trying to talk about. We were interrupted.
I do remember saying, “Stop interrupting us.” A whole lot. It reminded me of my amazing parents and how they taught me a thing called manners. I have apparently failed at this. How is this so hard?! Can’t they see it’s disrespectful? Or is it my need for respect that demands theirs?
You know who doesn’t mind being interrupted? My kids. They love a good interruption. It’s exciting for them. It’s life-giving. It’s joyful.
Me too Lord. Me too. Make me more like them.
But, true confessions. I return home more than a little frustrated and annoyed at many, many…MANY things, and after tripping over clothes and stepping on a lego yet AGAIN (you are aware that legos were invented to make parents say bad words in front of their kids, right? this is a thing), I had finally managed to get all four sweet little angels in bed.
Ah…Alone at last, I want to run to my Father. I kneel down to pray for a whole five minutes when my ten-year-old daughter comes in asking me to pray for her. I want to pray for her, but oh my goodness I’m tired. But you can’t turn down a child asking for prayer so I let her sit on my bed and gave her a prayer card so she could pray scripture over a friend of ours, while I prayed silently over her and the fear and anxiety she was feeling. She prayed our friend would be covered by the armor of God from head to toe, that God would not allow him to be entangled in civilian affairs, that he would be assigned to a place, that God would fight for Him. I prayed the same things over her quietly as she prayed for Him. She finished. She left. I heaved a sigh, buried my head in a pillow, and asked God, “Lord, will I ever get to pray ever again without being interrupted?” But then He said quickly to me, “Oh that? That was not an interruption. That was you teaching your daughter how to fight.”
That was not an interruption. The “interruption” was the point.
Sometimes interruptions are asking for gummy bears and OTHER times there is a little girl who needs to learn to fight spiritual battles.
Oh God. Give me more discernment and so much more more compassion?
As much as I hate mundane interruptions, I realized how much I’ve learned to be interrupted since I started working in the Kingdom agenda, not my own. I get interrupted all the time. In fact, Holy Spirit appointments were some of the ways God led me to gradually release my death-grip on my schedule and on my life in general. And on my best days I actually have really learned to love it. Why? Because interruptions are where miracles happen!
Jesus was interrupted a lot. Like. A lot a lot.
He was interrupted “before His time” by His mama to turn water into wine. (John 2:1-11). Don’t you just hate it when your mom makes you do miracles before your time? #otherworldproblems.
Once, He was woken up from sleep to calm a storm, though in the disciples’ defense I can see how they would have thought this may have constituted an emergency (Luke 8:22-24).
He was interrupted by a massive innumerable crowd when He was in the middle of an intimate conversation with His disciples (Luke 8:40-48). One day, literally while he was teaching, a guys got lowered into the room THROUGH THE CEILING! (Luke 5:17-19). That’s pretty hilarious. And relatable. He was interrupted from raising a dead girl back to life for a woman who STOLE A HEALING from the hem of His garment for her bleeding body (Luke 8:40-48). The thing is, it’s impossible to steal when what you have stolen is already being given to you freely. And finally, Jesus was interrupted in solitude when He was praying (Mark 1:35-39). And His response…Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come.
Do you know you have a purpose?
Compassion. Love. Mercy. Living “already given.” So no one can steal your time because it is already given to the Kingdom. Your day is exactly allocated the way your Father has prepared in advance (Ephesians 2:10). And do we walk right past these things because we have other plans?
Just read this.
A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. 31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant (Levite) walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. 33 Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’Luke 10:30-35
It’s interesting to think. What was so important to the priest and Levite to pass by a half-dead wounded man? What if they were on their way TO Jerusalem to pray, sorta like I was tonight. They had to get to God. They were God’s men. Focus. Don’t get dirty. Don’t touch blood or you will be ceremonially unclean and unable to perform your duties. Don’t get distracted! People are waiting on you to teach them. Your JOB is to teach the multitudes and lead them in worship of the ONE TRUE GOD! The problem was that “God” was laying half-dead in front of them and they didn’t even see Him.
For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’Matthew 25:42-45
In their zeal “FOR” God, in their “position of influence,” in their “responsibilities,” they had managed to become theologically relieved of their compassion. God help us who have been blind guides. What if the interruptions are the best parts of the story?
The disciples who walked with Jesus got this. When Peter and John went to pray in the temple, they saw a lame man, and Peter “fixed His eyes on him.” Peter understood. The way of true worship is often fixing our eyes in compassion on the interruption which has been sidelined by this busy world. Don’t confuse religion for salvation. Don’t confuse medicine for healing. Don’t confuse teaching for discipling. Don’t confuse noticing for seeing.
See…here’s the thing. Compassion can’t be interrupted. It just envelopes the interruption into itself. Isn’t it glorious to be seen by love?
Here’s a question for your heart…Do you believe you have the right to interrupt God? You do! You know why? Because God cannot be interrupted. His love for you assures this. See, He’s not a human parent or teacher. I have my limits. I get tired and frustrated. I get lost in the shuffle. I get flustered when two people need me at once. I get confused. I don’t always see with my heart.
But our Father sees you. He actually does. Ask Him your questions. Listen to HIm. HE loves being interrupted.
As for me? Well…I’ll just keep asking for more grace and mercy as I gradually learning to walk in His ways and turn from being a blind guide to one able to see. What a miracle that would be. Son of David, have mercy on me.