And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.” [James 4:13-15 (MSG)]
The woman sadly told me they’d come here for a three-month job sixteen years ago. The position became permanent and southwest Florida had been their home ever since. Unfortunately, she added, they’d be moving back north that week. Hurricane Irma had interrupted their lives when it destroyed their home and all of their belongings. Over three months later, they were no closer to rebuilding than on the day after the storm. They’d been moving from hotel to hotel but, with tourist season fast approaching, there literally is no room at the inns. “It’s time to pack up and go,” she said tearfully, adding, “We’re just blessed to have a place to go up north.”
In the Bible, many names are used for the Lord: God Almighty/El-Shaddai, The Lord Our Peace/Yahweh-Shalom, God of Seeing/El-Roi, The Lord Will Provide/ Yahweh-Jireh, The Lord Who Heals/Yahweh-Rapha, and The Lord is There/Yahweh-Shammah. There is another quite fitting but non-Biblical name for the Lord: God of Interruption!
That woman’s life was interrupted and she is in good company. Life’s interruptions aren’t always bad but they’re usually inconvenient. Moses wasn’t looking for another job while tending sheep in Midian but God interrupted his life with a burning bush and a forty-year assignment. Joseph, the favored son of Jacob, had his life rudely interrupted when he was sold into slavery. Elisha was plowing his fields when God had Elijah lay his cloak on the man’s shoulders and anoint him as the prophet’s replacement. Both Mary and Joseph’s lives and wedding plans were interrupted with the angelic announcement of a pregnancy. For that matter, consider Elizabeth and Zechariah. They wanted a child but that unexpected pregnancy certainly interrupted the elderly couple’s lives. Simon Peter and Andrew were throwing their nets into the water and James and John were repairing theirs when Jesus interrupted their lives. Consider Paul. The Jewish zealot was on the road to Damascus when God interrupted with a visit from Jesus and blindness. His interruptions continued throughout Paul’s ministry; when he wanted to go to Bithynia, God intervened by sending him to Troas and his journey to Rome was interrupted by a shipwreck. The God of Interruption was at work.
Health issues, the death of a loved one, job transfers, car accidents, job loss, a job offer, finances, divorces, pregnancies, fires, flood, hurricanes, and the needs of others are just some of the ways our lives are interrupted. Let us never lose sight of the fact that, just because a life has been interrupted, it is not over—it has simply changed. God has placed those interruptions there for us; they are opportunities to trust in God, believe that His grace is sufficient, and to grow more like Christ. Circumstances can take much from us—homes, people, health, jobs, and even our reputations—but they can’t take away our loving God.
When the God of Interruption disrupts our lives, let us always remember that He also is God Almighty and the Lord of our Peace. He is the God who sees, provides for and heals us. He is there for us now and forevermore.
Father in Heaven, help us to see your hand in life’s many interruptions and to offer thanks for the many surprises and disruptions in our lives.