Sometimes in our lives, when we least expect it, God has a tendency to show up and interrupt what we’re doing. Now we know He’s sovereign in all things and is “in His heavens and does what He pleases” (Ps. 115:3), yet often we view His interruptions as an inconvenience, or as an annoying set of circumstances, or as some frustrating event, or just really bad timing. But God, as God, has the right to interrupt our lives and our petty little schedules and plans anytime He wants. In fact, we should welcome His interruptions.
Often He interrupts because we’ve grown cold, apathetic, lifeless, or lukewarm in our relationship with Him. These interruptions serve as a well-timed wake-up call to get our focus back on the eternal and important and off of what is temporary and insignificant. Sometimes He decides to break into our mundane existence, our stagnated spiritual life of ease and comfort and self-centeredness, to speak truth to us in a way that will forever change our future. And when that happens, we should joyfully embrace these interruptions as loving gifts from a loving Father, and not as something to fear or dread.
Let me give you just a few examples.
One day Israel no longer wanted God to be their King but instead wanted to be like all the other nations and have a king like they had (1 Sam. 8:5-9). So they rejected God and chose for themselves a man who looked the part of a king— a man of outward strong stature, a man with handsome features, an attractive man, a movie star type of man. They chose Saul to be their king: “Long live the king!” (1 Sam. 10:24). But what they didn’t know was that the “Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).
Saul was not the king the Lord wanted and, in the course of time, committed sins so grievous that God said: “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments” (1 Sam. 15:10). So the prophet Samuel brought word to Saul that God “has rejected you from being king” (1 Sam. 15:23) and that the party was just about over. The die was cast, Saul was on his way out. All that was necessary was to anoint the new king of Israel.
Unaware of all this political drama in Jerusalem, there was a young boy who was faithfully tending his father’s sheep on the backside of a remote hill in a forgotten desert far away from anything good that was happening in the world. He was the youngest of eight sons born to a man named Jesse. One day that young boy was called home to stand before the prophet of God, Samuel, who was there to anoint the new king of Israel. Samuel had gone through the seven older brothers of this young man, one by one, repeating the same words, “The Lord has not chosen this one”. But when young David was presented before the mighty prophet he was declared to be the new king of Israel. Samuel said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one” (1 Sam. 16:12). David was now God’s anointed king, His choice among all the people on the face of the earth.
What an incredible interruption.
From that moment on, David’s life was forever changed. This young shepherd boy was now destined to bravely face breathtaking highs and heart wrenching lows he would have never had the opportunity to experience tending his father’s flock. Once God interrupted David’s life with Himself he discovered the joy of indescribable intimacy with the Lord as well as the shameful pain of public sin that we still talk about today. His faith was challenged on a battlefield facing a nine foot giant named Goliath (1 Sam. 17) and his very call from God and confirmation by Samuel was rejected by the current king of Israel, Saul, who sought to take his life. By embracing God’s interruption David was driven into the wilderness to live like a vagabond and was forced to act like a crazed madman drooling saliva in the presence of his own enemies (1 Sam. 21:13). And for a time, it seemed God’s interruption only produced pain and suffering in David’s life.
But we know the rest of the story, don’t we?
We know King David was called a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14) and we also know the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, traced His earthly lineage through King David (Matt. 1:1). We also know of the blessed promise given David that his throne would be established forever (2 Sam. 7:13-16).
Such are the blessings of an interrupted life.
Are you interested? Would you like your life to be interrupted like David’s?
We also know of a man named Saul, later changed to Paul, from the town of Tarsus, who was a rising star among the Jewish intelligentsia of his day. So committed to putting this Jesus cult down, he personally requested and was given authority from the High Priest in Jerusalem to travel to surrounding areas and bring back in chains those who claimed the name of Christ. One day, around noon, on his way to Damascus, God interrupted his life.
God spoke to him from a blinding light and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” To which Saul responded in awe and fear, “Who are you, Lord?” And the One who interrupted his life said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:3-5).
From that point on Saul, or Paul as we know him today, was a changed man. He spent the rest of his life living for something and Someone greater than himself. Nearing the time of his death, Paul summed up his life by saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). He was determined to know nothing but “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). And this man, this ordinary man with an interrupted life, was given revelations of the Lord God that simply boggle the mind. He was taken up into Paradise, the third heaven, and “heard inexpressible words which are not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Cor. 12:2-4).
Such are the blessings of an interrupted life.
Again, are you interested? Would you like God to interrupt your life like He did Paul’s?
I’m reminded of a young, teenage woman who was approached by a godly man who greatly desired to take her as his wife. She was a good daughter to her father and she was faithful to her Lord. She was chaste, a virgin, modest in her dress, righteous in her conduct— she was literally everything a young woman should strive to be and the kind of daughter every father hopes and prays for. A man named Joseph, well known in their town, respectable and God-fearing, had come and paid the bride price for her and was patiently dreaming of the day when he would be able to return and take her to be with him as his cherished, beloved bride. But this young woman’s life was about to be interrupted by a vision from the angel Gabriel, the messenger of the Lord.
One day, as Mary was going about her duties, God interrupted her life. An angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” (Luke 1:28). Mary was more than a little surprised. She was greatly troubled and probably in shock. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31).
Mary, seeing the natural impossibility of this, said, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:34-25).
What Will You Do With Your Interruption?
And now please understand this: When God chooses to interrupt a life, like David’s, like Saul’s, like Mary’s, and like yours, we always have a choice. We can choose to accept His interruption and all that goes with it, good or bad. Or, we can choose to reject His interruption and walk away. “Thanks for the offer God, but I think I’ll pass this time. Check back with me later.” God never forces His will on anyone. He offers us the blessing of His interruption and the choice to obey and accept or to reject and walk away is always in our own hands. It’s our call, our decision.
This is exactly what was presented to Mary.
With her future dark and uncertain, with no hope of Joseph or her parents or anyone for that matter believing her incredible story, with no means of physical support for her and her new child, and with the ever-looming danger and threat of her death by stoning, Mary nevertheless said in bold, courageous faith, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
And the world has never been the same.
So what about you? Are you praying for God to interrupt your life? Or, has God already tried to interrupt your life and you rejected His invitation? The greatest blessing a Christian can ever experience is God’s divine interruption into one’s life. God’s interruption means He wants to speak new truth to us, to lead us in a new direction, to infuse new purpose and meaning into our very lives. It’s a profound blessing, a gift of grace.
God’s interruption means we’re not forgotten, we’re not forsaken, we’re not simply an afterthought or a footnote in the pages of His glorious dealings with mankind. But God’s interruption means He has chosen you, and me, to do something specifically designed by Him and for Him.
Don’t be afraid of His divine interruptions. Do not fear them. But pray for them, ask for them, long for them, beg for them.
A Final Warning
But understand this, as Jesus warned those who haphazardly wanted to follow Him to “count the cost” (Luke 14:28), there’s also a great cost to be paid when God interrupts your life. It may mean, and it usually does, that He will compel you to go into “all the world” (Mark 16:15) to do and say things to people you never thought possible. He will usually move you out of your ease and comfort zone and into an area where you’ll be forced to trust Him, and Him alone, and not your own strengths (2. Cor. 12:10). Words like, “I feel uncomfortable doing this” or “this isn’t my gift” or “I wasn’t trained for this” or “I didn’t sign up for this” will be banished from your vocabulary. New words and phrases will emerge from your lips like, “Thank you, Jesus, for using me this way because I know that in my weakness I am strong when I rely on You. I praise You for what You have accomplished through me. It’s all You, Lord.”
Are you ready?
Are you ready for 2015 to be a year of life-changing interruptions from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
Then get ready. For your life is about to change.