Story has it that in the middle of working on another masterpiece, Leonardo da Vinci laid down his brushes to answer a knock on his door. Outside was an elderly man who needed help with his water line. Da Vinci dropped what he was doing, picked up his tools and went out the door to help the old man. We don’t know if he made for a good plumber or if he was even able to finish the job. What we know is that the work of art that he started that day remained unfinished till the day he died.
Interruption. Everyone knows what it’s like. You start a personal project that’s very important to you and just out of the blue, some other things scream for attention and before you know it, you’re reduced to responding to the urgent needs around you. Some years later you realized your project remains unfinished. Where have all the hours gone?
Or maybe you set aside a time to read your Bible at a very convenient time but just when you were about to receive a very important revelation from God, your cellular phone started ringing. You dropped your Bible to check the message and realized it was just a funny Facebook update. You check your computer and before you know it, you’ve been surfing the internet for hours. Meanwhile, your Bible sat on the empty table, unread; and the revelation that would have changed your life vanished into thin air.
But not all interruptions are bad. When Jesus was on His way to Jairus’ house to pray for his sick daughter, a woman who’s been bleeding for 12 years interrupted Him. She crawled through the crowd to touch Jesus’ robes and when she did, she was instantly healed. Jesus stopped in His tracks to investigate the power that He felt came out of Him. We know how the story unfolded but what we often forget is that while this exchange was going on, Jairus was anxiously waiting for Jesus to wrap up His investigation and proceed to his house so his daughter can be healed.
I have a feeling that Jairus wished the woman didn’t interrupt them at all. His daughter was on the verge of death and the woman who interrupted them looked like she could survive a few more hours of not getting her miracle. Why Jesus lingered was simply beyond him. Then the news came and shattered his last hope for miracle. His daughter’s dead, he need not bother the Master! I could just imagine the look of accusation in his eyes. If only the woman didn’t interrupt them… If only Jesus hurried a little…
Few verses later, we learned that his daughter was resurrected from the dead, a far more glorious miracle than rising up from the sick bed. The interruption was intentional in the plan of God. Partly, it was meant to teach us that there are times when we have to give in to divine interruptions just so we can allow God to work out something.
But how do we know which interruption is from God and which one is not? Now that’s something that needs a lot of practice and fine tuning in our part. Learning to listen to the voice of God is not something we can learn from a blog or a book. We’ve got to do it, live it, and learn it ourselves.
Disclosure: This post is inspired by Joe McKeever’s “Interruptions: Blessings and Burdens,” posted on October 28, 2003