Interruptions. I do not like them but they happen. Kids barging into conversations. People calling when I am getting work done. Emergencies with family members that need attention right away. All of the things that cut in to my plans for the day. And it happens to all of us. We get up in the morning and make our “to do” list and map out how the day will go. And then we get interrupted and the course of our day can be momentarily shifted or radically altered.
This happens with life plans as well. We have our dreams and then life throws a curveball that we weren’t expecting. Our job is unexpectedly terminated and we have to find new employment. A family member is diagnosed with cancer and suddenly the future is unsure. A spouse wants out of the marriage and we find ourselves in the midst of an unwanted divorce. These kinds of interruptions happen every day. They have happened in the lives of my family and friends this past year and it is hard to watch. Why is this happening? How can any of this be good or in God’s plan for us?
The holidays seem to be a particularly difficult time of year when our paths have been altered in challenging ways. Everyone is happy and shopping and planning family gatherings while we are filled with sadness or grief and are wondering how we will make it through the next day. With Advent devotionals and church, we focus again on the story of Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem so many years ago. I have been thinking a lot about Mary and how her life was interrupted by God. Can you imagine? She was a young girl pledged to be married and her life was arranged. Joseph was probably preparing a home for them and things were going according to their plan. And then the angel Gabriel intervenes and tells her she will be with child. We don’t know what she was thinking in that moment but I would probably have had some fears pop up quickly: Will Joseph think I was unfaithful? What will everyone say about me? Will we be shunned in town?
Although we aren’t privy to her thoughts, the bible does tell us her response: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” Extraordinary. In the midst of extreme uncertainty and a radical shift in her plans, she acknowledges that she is here to serve the Lord and submits to His authority and will for her life. What an example for me as I continue to “map out” my future! I know that I will have more interruptions to come….they are inevitable. I just hope that I can respond with grace and submission like Mary. After all, her interruption resulted in being the mother of our Lord and Savior! What will God accomplish with our interruptions? To Him alone be the glory!
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. – Luke 1:38