I attended a Priscilla Shirer Simulcast this weekend. I’m fairly certain that God told Miss Priscilla what to say just because I would be there. Even the words of the songs and the words Anthony Evans spoke I’m sure were divinely orchestrated all for me. How does He do that?!
The topic was “Life Interrupted”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like interruptions. If I have exactly 30 minutes to pick up a few items and then get home to have supper ready, I’m not too thrilled inside when an interruption happens. Someone calls out my name… and wants to chat. Or the car won’t start. Or there is a line at the store.
Sometimes the interruptions appear on a larger scale. Loss of employment. Chronic illness. Financial struggles. Strained relationships. Or when God overlooks your plans and sets His own in motion.
These interruptions can leave us feeling anything from annoyed to abandoned. Jonah 2:8 offers a warning to us in the middle of our whining. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.” (NIV) When this verse was read this weekend, it caught my attention, as if she had said “Sharon, when you cling to worthless idols, you are turning away from God’s love for you.”
Worthless idols? What do they have to do with interruptions? I don’t have any worthless idols… do I? And you think I cling to them? Oh…. You mean the stuff I’ve been whining about… The things I want to change. The to-do’s on my list I’d rather not have to do.
I kick and scream and pout and whine and run away from the interruptions God places in my path but I forget one thing: His stuff is a whole lot better than my stuff, as Miss Priscilla put it. I think I have good ideas to solve all my dilemmas, but I forget His ways are higher. I forget that He has the big picture. I forget that His purposes are good, even when the circumstances don’t appear so. I forget that I must obey God’s word even when it is not convenient.
I cling to the expectations I have drawn out for my days. I try to ignore God’s direction and walk my own path, hoping He will change His mind and agree my way is best. I hang onto certain things that I feel I must have in order to be happy and secure. These things, while so precious to me are worthless in reality. And the truth is, when I cling to them, I forfeit the grace offered to me.
It’s like saying, “No thanks, God. I don’t need your help…unless you want to do it my way… I only want it this way…” (It’s actually a bit scary typing those words… I do hope God knows that was just an example…)
The biblical equation with which we can identify these instances, no matter their size, is: interruptions = divine interventions= invitation. Situations placed, without notice, in our paths divinely arranged for the purpose of inviting us to draw closer to God, and to be a part of His work.
Jonah responded to the interruption of assignment to Ninevah by purchasing a ticket for a cruise and was interrupted by a big ol’ fish. Seems to me he could have avoided one messy interruption if he had just obeyed on the first one.
So, what’s your interruption? What has God placed in your life that isn’t on your game plan? How are you going to respond?