I don’t appreciate interruptions. Like when my SUV starts making a strange noise and I have to take it to the mechanic. I feel trapped somehow. I usually arrange for that when I know I’m able to spend the day in the office, so it’s not like I was planning on going anywhere – it’s just that knowing that I can’t has an unsettling affect somehow. Or when the power goes out. That’s really a drag! No lights, no computer, no TV. No coffee maker! I immediately call the hydro company to begin to get an idea of when the power is going to come back on. It’s hard to wait for something when it’s out of your control.
Life moves at a pretty fast pace for most of us. From the time we get up to the time we go to bed we’ve got things to do, places to be. For many of us, the schedule is so full it can’t easily adjust to even small inconveniences, especially if it involves kids! It breaks our stride and makes us scramble. And that makes us uneasy.
But then a big one comes along – like 9-11, or Covid-19. Suddenly, the interruption is so big, so all encompassing, it not only upsets our routine it virtually forces us to find some kind of new normal. That’s not just a little unsettling – it’s a lot unsettling.
We find ourselves in the midst of such a time. Things are REALLY outside of our normal routine at the moment. No school for the kids. No gathering at the church. No toilet paper in the stores. And this is just where we are at the moment. It may get much worse. Look at Italy. So what do we make if it? How do we cope with this level of disruption to our daily lives? I hope we won’t be fatalistic about it – as if to say, “oh well, nothing we can do about it anyway, so let’s just hope for the best”. No, as people who know a God who loves this world He made, we should face this head on, peering deeply into this unrest with the eyes of seers. “Lord, what should we be making of this?” we should ask.
God doesn’t waste a good crisis! I’m not saying that He caused all of this. I don’t think that at all. But God is a Redeemer and He is in this with us. He’s right here beside us, waiting for us to turn to Him and let Him show us how to make THE BEST of this situation. There’s Kingdom good available here. But to see it we have to stop thinking like our everyday selves (you know, the ones who’ve been so rudely interrupted) and start seeing more like Him. Kingdom opportunity is all around us. But remember – the Kingdom of God is upside down to this world’s ways of thinking and doing things. You’ll have to look for it differently in order to find where it’s at work.
God has used disasters to get people’s attention in the past. Read the book of Joel. It was written in the 9th Century BC, before Jerusalem was taken over by the Babylonians. I love this sense of urgency captured in chapter 2:15-16 in the Message:
Blow the ram’s horn trumpet in Zion!
Declare a day of repentance, a holy fast day.
Call a public meeting.
Get everyone there. Consecrate the congregation.
Make sure the elders come,
but bring in the children, too, even the nursing babies,
Even men and women on their honeymoon—
interrupt them and get them there.
Interrupt them, God says. He calls for the attention of His people! Stop what you’re doing and look and listen, He says. See what is happening right in front of you. Make sense of it. Understand and know how to respond. The interruption is not meant to distract us from the important things in life, it’s meant to remind us of what’s truly important in life. It should awaken in each of us the Kingdom impulses of love, compassion, mercy and generosity.
Sometimes, in our rush of the everyday, it takes a disaster to really get our attention. So here it is. Are we paying attention?