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7 Reminders for When You're Interrupted

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When God interrupts our lives, it can change eternity.

Interrupt: “to stop or hinder by breaking in; to break the uniformity or continuity of.” [1]

How often have you heard something like this?

“Sorry to interrupt… do you have a minute?”

“Can I interrupt y’all for a second? I have a question.”

“Hey, I know you’re busy, but can you do this one thing for me really quick?”

Interruptions. Our days are full of them. Car accidents and crazy drivers interrupt your commute. Your boss interrupts your current project with another project. And of course, it’s rare for a meeting to conclude without an interruption.

And they don’t stop at home. Kids interrupt conversations. Dinner is interrupted by a knock on the door. The dog interrupts your sleep with a midnight howling. And during your quiet time or other conversations, it seems you can’t get five minutes without being interrupted by a text message, an email, or a reminder on your phone.

Although they are common, interruptions affect us in many ways. They cause stress with the unplanned circumstances that we now have to handle. They can cause us to become angry or resentful because our plans are ruined. They can cause fights about how to (or who should) deal with the interruption. They can change our priorities and change the way we think about something. They can change the trajectory of our day, our week, or even our lives.

In short, interruptions cause a break in our lives. They can break our plans, our mood, our priorities, and even our relationships. An interruption is a break that reveals our brokenness. And as broken people, we don’t always do well with brokenness, do we?

So how do we handle interruptions? The following seven reminders from God’s Word can help.

1. Remember that God is sovereign. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” You can plan your day or week, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail in the end. He is sovereign over your days and your plans. When an interruption comes, don’t be surprised—remember God is sovereignly working out the details of your day.

2. Keep making plans. God is sovereign, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make plans. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” This proverb doesn’t conclude by saying, “so therefore, don’t make any plans.” It means keep making plans but recognize that God has the right to redirect your steps.

3. Remember that God will give you the grace to handle the interruption. Second Corinthians 9:8 says, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” Notice how many times Paul says “all” and “every.” All grace. All sufficiency. In all things at all times. For every good work. That means God will give you the grace to handle anything—including things you didn’t plan for.

4. Be faithful in the interruptions. Jesus was once asked to heal a sick girl who was about to die (Mark 5:21-43). On his way to the girl, Jesus was interrupted by a bleeding woman who reached out to him to receive healing. Jesus healed her and even stopped to explain to her that she was healed because of her faith. While he was talking to the woman, the girl died. Jesus brought the girl back to life. But notice: the girl died while Jesus was interrupted. Jesus knew the girl was dying, but he still stopped to heal and talk to the bleeding woman. He didn’t ignore the interruption—he was faithful in the interruption. And he sovereignly took care of both situations. What’s the point? Be faithful in the interruptions and trust that God will sovereignly take care of everything else.

5. Be thankful for the blessings that come from interruptions. First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The phrase “all circumstances” includes circumstances you didn’t plan for. Sometimes interruptions shift our focus to something more important than our plans. Sometimes interruptions lead us to learn something new that we otherwise wouldn’t have learned. Sometimes interruptions lead us to form new friendships and relationships. So be thankful for interruptions and learn from them.

6. Remember that God interrupted your life to save you. The Bible says that we were dead in sin, enemies of God, alienated from him, deserving of wrath, and unable to save ourselves (Romans 3:20, 5:6-10; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21). God needed to break in and interrupt our lives in order to save us. And for many of us, we came to saving faith precisely because of an interruption. An unplanned circumstance led us to talk with a Christian or attend a church service where we heard the gospel. When God interrupts our lives, it can change eternity. Praise God for his interruptions!

7. Remember that God cares for you without interruption. Psalm 121:3-4 says, “He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” The Lord unceasingly cares for you. He doesn’t take his eye off of you. His power and care is so vast that he sustains the universe and every living being. But his power and care is also so focused that he directs the details of your day and never stops looking after you. He’s always with you—without any interruption.

In our broken world, we long for wholeness—an unbroken, uninterrupted sense of completeness. And every interruption we deal with reminds us that this world is still broken. We are still broken. But Christ broke into our lives to save us from our own brokenness. Thankfully, he interrupted our lives. And he sovereignly continues to do. So the next time you face an interruption, remember that God is at work. Interruptions are actually God’s involvement in our lives. They are opportunities to trust and praise him.

“I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.”
(Psalm 34:1 NLT)

[1] "Interrupt." Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed April 26, 2017. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/interrupt.