Interruptions

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

Help from Unexpected Places

Hagar had a good life. God promised her that her son Ishmael would have descendants that will be too numerous to count. Then a quick turn of events caused her and her son to be kicked out of Abraham’s household, sending them blundering in the wilderness without enough food and water to sustain them. With their supplies running out and the boy getting very weak of the journey, Hagar laid Ishmael under a shrub to die while she went a little farther to give in to her despair.

Who’s gonna hear her there? No one. They were alone in the wilderness, her son was dying and she has resigned herself to the same fate. All she could do was cry. No, it wasn’t a prayer, just plain, hopeless bleating. She was weak, too weak to even see her son draw his last breath. She was waiting for grief and despair to claim her. But she forgot one thing: God’s promise that Ishmael would be great.

In his dying state, Ishmael did something he learned from his father- he prayed to the God of the Hebrews. He prayed hard, in fact, the Bible says he lifted up his voice and cried. I know most translations would say it was Hagar who prayed but in the original Hebrew, the voice that was lifted up was masculine, indicating that it was Ishmael who prayed. Gen. 21: 27 confirms it, it says that the Lord heard the voice of the lad.

Hagar’s deliverance came from an unexpected place. It was brought about by a genuine prayer of a dying boy and the faithfulness of the God who never forgets any of His promises. Just when her last strand of hope was about to snap, God stepped in and by miraculous providence, a spring of water appeared near them and sustained them in the dessert. They were not going to die after all. Even if Ishmael’s posterity would grow to be the fiercest enemy of Isaac’s children for generations, God simply doesn’t abandon those whom a promised is made to.

You might sometimes find yourself in a situation where you are too discouraged to even get up and breath. Don’t despair. Even the castaways are never forsaken. They live on and they find hope in God. They find help even in unexpected places. Yes, even a dying boy’s prayer can be your ticket to deliverance. Just hang on and say a prayer.

Roads

There was only one Road, and it’s like a great river; its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.

Do you realize that this is the very path that goes through Mirkwood, and that if you let it, it might take you to the Lonely Mountain or even further or to worse places?”

Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

Oswald Chambers

If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He does not ask you to put it right; He asks you to accept the light, and He will put it right. A child of the light confesses instantly and stands bared before God; a child of the darkness says – “Oh, I can explain that away.” When once the light breaks and the conviction of wrong comes, be a child of the light, and confess, and God will deal with what is wrong; if you vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.

Burning Hearts

When Jesus appears to us, fires are kindled. But we have to learn to keep the secret of the burning heart that will go through anything. It is the dull, bald, dreary, commonplace day, with commonplace duties and people, that kills the burning heart unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus.

“Did not our heart burn within us?” Luke 24:32

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, March 22- The Burning Heart