interruptible you

Years ago, Ramona and I saw pianist Spencer Brewer in concert and during the show, he made an observation that has stuck with me for some three decades. He pointed out that during post-adolescence it occurred to him that he had interrupted his dad’s life and not the other way around. Now, he was talking about a life-altering interruption. But the truth is we generally loathe interruptions. We especially don’t like interruptions that cause disruptions in our lives, even if it’s for just a few hours. But Jesus loved interruptions when it meant helping others. And He calls on us to love them too when they’re His idea. You see, those interruptions aren’t disruptions in our plans, they are part of God’s plan for our lives. Jesus models this often in the gospels.

The Gospel of Mark is the most action-packed of the four gospels and chapters five and six are a series of interruptions:

When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around Him while He was by the lake. Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at His feet. He pleaded earnestly with Him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. Mark 5:21-24 (NIV).

But before Jesus can respond to Jairus’ request, He is interrupted again:

A large crowd followed and pressed around Him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. Mark 5:21-29 (NIV)

Jesus heals Jairus’ daughter and the woman’s bleeding. In the next chapter, when Jesus and His disciples are looking for quiet time, Jesus instead ends up feeding 5,000 people. Jesus welcomed interruptions by those He could serve. But He also knew when to take a break: (From “To Every Nation”)

To prepare for a major task Luke 4:1-2, 14-15. After Jesus was baptized, He spent 40 days praying in the wilderness. After this, He was tempted by Satan and then began His public ministry.

To recharge after hard work Mark 6:30-32. Jesus sent the 12 disciples out to do ministry. When they returned, He encouraged them to separate from the people who were following them to rest.

To work through grief Matthew 14:1-13. After Jesus learned that his cousin John the Baptist had been beheaded, He went away by Himself. Yes, even the Son of God grieves.

Before making an important decision Luke 6:12-13. Early in His ministry, Jesus spent the whole night alone in prayer. The next day He chose his 12 disciples.

In a time of distress Luke 22:39-44. Hours before Jesus was arrested, He went to the Mt. of Olives and went a short distance away from His disciples to pray. He was in great emotional agony knowing what he was about to face.

To focus on prayer Luke 5:16. Many times in Jesus’ ministry He spent time alone in prayer.

When we follow God’s plan, he will put people in our lives to interrupt us and those we can interrupt when we need help. And He will show us when to take a break. What a blessing to know His grace covers it all!

— Pastor Jerry Bader

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