I was struck a few months ago by a sermon that talked about how God often interrupts our lives. We feel annoyed, angry, hurt, confused or bitter at the interruption. Might be the loss of a job. Might be a broken relationship. Might be a medical issue. Might be the death of a loved one. Might be a tragedy.
Sometimes the interruption is good. Might the birth of a new baby. Might be a new job or promotion. Might be an unexpected gift. Whether the interruption is good or bad, easy or hard, it is often life changing. And God is always in the middle of it if we look for Him.
This Christmas I was reading the Christmas story in the book of Luke. Zechariah's life was interrupted while he was in the temple serving The Lord. Mary's life was interrupted when an angel told her she would have a baby. The shepherds lives were interrupted when the angels came to them in the field to share the good news. These seem like good interruptions at first, but that is with the perspective of the whole story. In the moment of each I don't know that it felt that way.
Zechariah became mute. Talk about changing his lifestyle. Mary was engaged and would need to break it off to save Joseph from embarrassment as well as her family. The shepherds had sheep in the field that they were responsible for, they were in the middle of working, not a convenient time for an announcement.
Yet with each interruption, God was there. And He helped with the transition into the new normal. These interruptions did not catch Him by surprise. And neither will anything that has happened or will happen in our lives. He can see the big picture and we each need to trust that He will walk through it with us, just like He did for Zechariah, Mary and the shepherds.
God wants our response to be like these three stories. Zechariah gave God glory and praise as soon as he was able with his tongue. Mary said, "May it be as you have said" even before she could understand the good. And the shepherds left their work and went to tell everyone the good news they had heard. So what is our response? Do we get angry at God? Do we take it out on our family and friends? Or do we praise the One who is in the middle of it with us? Do we say, "let Your will be done, not mine?" Do we go and tell everyone the good news that Christ has come and has changed our lives? Who knows what the next year will hold, only God does. But we are praying that as interruptions come, we will seek His face and His plan for 2014.