First published December 13, 2013
Interruptions are inevitable. It's just the way life works. But, I keep asking myself, why is it that they come at such inopportune times? After listening to a zillion options in the phone-answering menu, someone will start talking to me and I miss the key moment only to have to redial and go through the whole thing again! And who's the bozo that always rings the doorbell just when the game-changing play is about to happen?
Well, I guess we could learn to live with interruptions if it weren't for the fact that some of life's interruptions are disruptive on a far more serious scale—a phone call from the doctor giving you bad news about your cancer tests, that pink slip on your desk, the unexpected loss of a loved one, or an unwanted job transfer all stack up as devastating surprises.
Which brings to mind how Joseph and Mary must have felt when their lives were dramatically interrupted by angelic announcements. Their future was bright until the divine announcements threatened their sense of well-being to the core.
If all you have is the Christmas-card mentality, 'Oh, how precious to see Mary, Joseph, and the child with angels fluttering over them!' then you've missed the magnitude of just how disruptive God's interruptions were.
What would Mary tell her mother, to say nothing of all the relatives and busybodies in her little village? Do we think for a moment that any of them would believe the story that began with "An angel told me . . ."?
And for Joseph's part, everyone would conclude that he had violated his fiancé's virginity, which in those days would have been a damning breach of religious and cultural standards.
Given the weight of it all, the amazing element in their story is that they both accepted the interruptions with a sense of resolved surrender.
A surrender that put them in a place where God could accomplish far more through them than their uninterrupted lives ever would have dreamed of.
Though awkward and challenging, God's unexpected change in their plans gave them the honour of parenting the very Son of God. And our world has never been the same again, to say nothing of our lives!
When God interrupts
When God interrupts our best laid plans and expectations, even when it seems like the outcomes are devastating, He has a far greater thing in mind for us. God's worthiness and glory is far more evident when it is expressed in the midst of suffering.
There is no greater confirmation of the trustworthiness of God than when we trust Him even in the face of the unexpected insecurities and uncertainties of life. And who knows what He has in store for us in terms of impact in future generations when He rearranges our lives? I can't always tell what God is up to, but I can assure myself that He uses interruptions to do things far beyond what I have ever dreamed.
I've often wondered, what if Noah had said, "I don't do boats!" or if Moses had complained, "I don't do crowds!" or if Job had insisted, "I don't do suffering," or if Mary had declined, "No thanks, a virgin birth is too great a risk," or, ultimately, if Jesus had said, "I don't do crosses!"?
So as things start to get chaotic as Christmas approaches, let's get the point. When interruptions come, stop resisting. Surrender and start looking for the hand of God as you serve Him obediently in spite of the uncertainty that is staring you in the face.
Mercy Cornish (21) lives in Christchurch and studies at Canterbury University. Mercy has completed a Bachelor of Arts degree studying Media and Communications and Political Science. This year Mercy is undertaking honours in Media and Communications.
Mercy Cornish' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mercy-cornish.html