Have you ever tried to get something done but cannot seem to finish because of interruptions? Maybe it’s that paper for class that keeps calling your name, but friends or your job keep you from completing it. Maybe the ‘something’ is that magazine you are trying to read through but your kids keep interrupting you to say something or get your attention. Or maybe it’s the meal that’s simmering away in the midst of phone calls and people stopping at the door.
Interruptions can be such a pain. But what if the interruption are the ‘something’ that needs attention? And what if God is trying to speak to us more in the interruptions than in the things we think are so important? This week in the midst of the ||40days|| journey, we are trying to listen for God. But sometimes God speaks in unexpected ways.
This calls to mind the story of the Apostle Paul. With a sense of clear purpose and direction, Paul (called Saul at that time) was heading to Damascus to persecute early followers of Jesus. Paul was not looking for something from God. No, Paul thought he already knew what God wanted for his life and for the world around him.
Yet, in the midst of Paul’s determined action that God breaks into his life. God interrupts Paul and shows him something unexpected and undesired. God gets Paul’s attention.
I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. (Acts 9:5b)
Sometimes, it is the interruptions of our intended purpose that bring us what we most need to hear from God. There are moments in our lives when, even though we operate with determined purpose and clarity, God needs to interrupt us in order to get our attention. We may not fall to the ground blinded by the glory of God like Paul, but we may find ourselves derailed from the focused plans we thought God had for us.
Henri Nouwen once wrote an extended reflection on interruptions. In conversation, an older friend once said to him: “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.” Nouwen went on to write the following words as a reflection upon the interruptions he experienced in his own life:
It has been the interruptions to my everyday life that have most revealed to me the divine mystery of which I am a part.
How might you listen for the voice of God in the interruptions of your day today? What is God speaking to you in these interruptions?