Interrupt (verb): to cause something to stop happening for a time; to change or stop the sameness or smoothness of something.
Would you be willing to be interrupted?
If you know me in the slightest bit, you know that I really need some structure in my life. My planner is literally organized by hour, not just by day. I am one who likes to have a set schedule for the week. I squirm around a bit inside when someone asks me to do something last minute, for which I haven’t already planned. I am a bit inflexible, I’ll admit. I have always wished I was more of a free spirit, but that is not who I am. When my life, my car, or my house is disorganized, I feel like things are a bit chaotic. It hasn’t taken me long to realize that I can be like this to a fault. I see that I am a person who does not like to be interrupted. I like to know what I am doing and when. I want to know what the next 5 years of my life will look like. I have goals written out in color-coated ink, and you better believe that I will do my best to cross them out when I complete them.
Though I believe being organized is a good thing, it quickly turns bad when I completely miss out on something God wants me to do because I refuse to budge in my daily routine. I am unwilling to go a little out of my way to do something He has asked because I am so afraid of not getting the stuff done that I need to do. Can I say something that I hope will resonate with you? If you are unwilling to be interrupted, you may be completely missing out on the will of God for your life.
In Luke 1: 26-56, there is a familiar story about a young woman who was interrupted by an angel of the Lord. This young virgin, named Mary, was getting ready to be married to a man named Joseph. I am sure she was making plans, setting dates, and preparing for her future with this man. Maybe she figured that they would build or purchase a home together and have 2.5 kids and a dog. Maybe she thought they would live a nice, quiet life happily ever after.
Then Gabriel shows up with a kink in the plans. He tells her she is going to birth a child, the Son of the Most High, the savior of the world. He tells this young woman in her early teens who has waited to have sex until marriage that she is going to have the Son of God. WOW! What an interruption! Can you imagine what would have happened if Mary argued and fought against the will of God for her? “But, God, this is not in the plan! This is not my dream for my life! Everyone will cast me out because of this! I will be shunned forever! Joseph won’t marry me!” She probably didn’t even realize this plan would include watching her own son brutally murdered in thirty years – she really may have refused if she had known that. You know what would have been sad, though? If Mary had fought against the call of God, she would have missed out on being the mom of the most influential person in all of history.
Gabriel called her one who had “found favor with God” (v. 30). Does this mean that God chose her to be this big shot? No! It meant that he called her for a specific purpose. Christine Caine says, “Favor is not for status. It is for purpose.” God specifically chose Mary for this task. If she had not been willing to be interrupted, he would have had to use someone else for the job. He interrupts so that he can use us in new ways to expand his kingdom. If we resist, he can just as easily find someone else for the job, and we miss out. We miss out because we think our work matters more than his.
As we continue reading, we see Mary’s response is first confused but then one of immediate obedience and surrender. Would I be so willing to immediately obey, no matter the cost? If I am being honest, I don’t think I would always be this quick. I am resistant in obedience sometimes because what God has asked me to do is not in line with what I already doing. Maybe he asks me to stop and give money to a homeless person, but I do not because I am running late. Maybe he asks me to invite someone to dinner and I don’t because my house has to be perfect. Maybe he asks me to invest in a new friendship and I don’t because I cannot find the time in my schedule.
You know, we really like to be comfortable in our culture. I think this is why I am a schedule freak, because it makes me feel secure and safe. It helps me know what is coming next. However, God never called us into his kingdom to sit and soak up his grace and goodness whenever it is convenient for us. He called us so that we can do his kingdom work. Sometimes this does require our lives to be interrupted for a time. Sometimes there may be some uncomfortable or even painful things we have to do. Mary was obedient, no matter the cost. She was willing to set aside her own agenda and embrace God’s plan for her life. Because of that obedience, she was able to take part in history being made. I will ask the question again. Would you be willing to be interrupted? Would you set aside your schedule, convenience, and comforts for the sake of radical obedience? If not, I fear that you could be missing out on some awesome things that God wants you to do. Take some time to pray about the state of your heart. Is it stone-cold, unwilling to budge, or is it soft, ready for the Lord to say, “Follow me?”