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God Reveals Himself in Life's Interruptions

November 18, 2000|MARK FELDMEIR | Mark Feldmeir is senior pastor at Santa Margarita United Methodist Church

How do you deal with the interruptions of your life? Whether at work or at play, we all have them. There are some days when a single interruption can derail your entire day; there are other days that simply seem like an endless stream of them.

I find the phrase, "just a minute," becoming more and more a part of my parental lexicon these days. My kids are quickly adapting. Now whenever they need me, they just stand there for one full minute, staring at me--arms crossed, one eye on the clock--before making their appeal. Sharp kids.

So I need help with the daily interruptions of my life. There's no way around them. They are frequent, endless, unavoidable. But more times than not, they are a gift to me rather than an inconvenience.

It's been said that humans make plans and God laughs. The late Henri Nouwen, priest and author, suggested that interruptions were his real work. He made sure that he had plenty of room on his schedule for interruptions. The lives he touched, the vocation he fulfilled and the enduring legacy he left are testimony to the fact that, as Annie Dillard writes, "How we spend our days is--of course--how we spend our lives."

On Jesus' way to heal Jairus' ailing daughter, a woman who happened to touch the hem of his robe interrupted him, and he changed her life forever.

On the road to Emmaus, a couple of the disciples had their well-planned grief interrupted by a stranger who happened to be the risen Christ in disguise, and their eyes were opened.

On the road to Damascus, Saul's mission to persecute the early Christians was interrupted by a sudden bolt of lightning, which caused a curious change of attitude, a change of heart and name.

What the world calls interruptions become, in moments of grace, epiphanies that lead us to the heart and mind of God.

In these interruptions the everyday ordinary becomes the everlasting sacred, the transcendent becomes imminently real, and what seems like mere coincidence becomes a living expression of the extraordinary providence of God.

The message on my passenger side mirror reads, "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear." So it is with the presence of God. In the interruptions that are your life, take a closer look at what you see; listen to what you hear; feel what you touch.

You just might find God in that moment, staring at you with arms crossed and one eye on the clock, waiting for the right time, his time, the time of your life.

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