Wednesday, June 8

A heart that allows interruptions

Yesterday afternoon, I received a call asking me to substitute lead a small group at my church's youth group. I would have the high school girls. I said I would and am glad I did!

The youth group is going through Francis Chan's book Crazy Love, which I've only read a portion of myself. Chan has created small video clips to accompany his book and facilitate small group discussion.

Last night's topics were on letting people "bother" us, obsession for Christ, and living like the early church.

One thing I have had to learn (and need to continually put into practice) is letting people interrupt my time and space. It can be easy to have an be so focused on a list of things, which may all be perfectly valid things...that I fail to allow myself to minister to others. Or there are other times when I may not be loaded down with an agenda but am simply tired and worn down. All I want to do is to be quiet or alone and someone wants to talk.

Jesus was so good at this element. How many times did he seek to get away and people would find them? In those times, he willingly ministered to others even when he was tired and wanted space. And how many times was he in route to some place, only to be interrupted by another person?

One story I mentioned to the girls last night is the story of Jesus healing Jarius' daughter and the hemorrhaging woman. Jesus is on his was to see Jarius' daughter and to heal her of her sickness. The urgency was there...she wasn't doing well and Jarius', full of love, had desperately sought out Jesus. Gotta hurry, gotta get there... Then suddenly, in route, Jesus stops. His journey is interrupted by a woman, who also desired healing from her 12 year history of bleeding. Even though she quietly reached out to Jesus when his robes brushed by her and had received immediate healing, Jesus stopped to minister to her heart. Her body was whole again but he stopped to breathe encouragement and affirmation over her, knowing that for the last 12 years, she has been cast-out of society due to her uncleanliness. Jesus gave her complete redemption. That blessing would have been missed, if Jesus hadn't allowed this interruption!

But the story doesn't end. While this happens, Jarius' daughter dies! Jarius' heart must have stopped as grief flooded in. I sure that grief must have quickly turned to frustration and anger, towards Jesus and this woman...if only he hadn't stopped for her, if only that wretched woman would have left Jesus alone... But if Jesus hadn't allowed this interruption, then Jarius and his family would have missed out on what happens next. Jesus requests to still see Jarius' daughter and moments later brings her back to life! In that moment, Jarius and his family got to testify that Jesus is the author and sustainer of life. Think how differently they lived and viewed Jesus because Jesus restored life to the dead versus just removing a fever! I would be very surprised to learn if this did not impact the rest of their lives.

All this happened because Jesus allowed an interruption. He allowed a man to change his course and then he allowed a woman to pause his plans. And yet, a woman was given healing and restoration, the daughter was given life (and healing), and the family got to witness the power of God. And this doesn't even include the multitude of witnesses that were around...the bystanders looking in who also got to see God in action!

How many interruptions does God give us, to interact and engage with others in a way that could be life-changing and bring healing? How many times do I allow those interruptions to pass me by because I'm too tired or too busy? Oh that I may have the eyes to see God in others and the willing heart to minister to them in those moments!

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