We’ve all had them. They come in many forms. Late night phone calls. Uniformed officers knocking on the door. Doctor reports that have fearful words like malignant, 3 cm mass, significant mutations, levels not viable for healthy pregnancy, etc. Sometimes, they’re less painful but not less unexpected or interrupting. Positive pregnancy tests, meeting the right guy, getting that job offer that you never expected or dreamed of…. Interruptions.
When we got married, we decided rather than rushing our honeymoon before the semester started, we would wait and go in the summer. We planned to go to Asia, teach for about a month, head over to Indonesia for some medical mission work, and then have a week of honeymooning in Hong Kong before returning to the States. All in all, over two months overseas. Sigh! What a wonderful plan!
My parents came to visit us to say goodbye, and my mother gave me a care package before she left. Six days before we were to fly out, we discovered our duet was soon to be a trio! (My mom knew before I did. She had put a pregnancy test and some chocolate for me in my care package. HA!) Doctor’s’ advice was to not risk it. There were too many questions and potential emergencies. So, Brian flew away, on my 30th birthday, to go on our “honeymoon” without me. He missed the 1st trimester, morning sickness, hormones, etc. (which is a mercy in itself, because I was a crazy mess!!) I was left alone in a town I had only lived in for four months. And, I still haven’t met my husband’s Indonesian tribe.
Talk about an interruption!
See, we all make plans. We dream. We envision. We book hotels. We schedule flights. We live. But, sometimes, our ideas and the reality of our paths don’t match up. “A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverb 16:9
Now, watching my crazy long-legged daughter diligently pour over her latest “chapter book”, I thank God for this “interruption”. His plans were so much bigger and better than ours!!
BUT as I was writing my previous post on Hope, I never imagined that it would be posting mere hours after receiving yet another interruption. This one far less beautiful than my precious daughter. That my words would be so immediately put to the test…
A lump. An ultrasound. A biopsy coming. Now, as I wait for at least another week before I, hopefully, have a definitive diagnosis, I am reminded once again of a quote that I love so much it’s written on my kitchen whiteboard.
“Helplessness not holiness is the first step to accessing God.” -Tim Keller
It is in these moments–and Oh! Have I had these moments– that one truly learns the power of submission. That one honestly finds the “Peace that passes all understanding…. (Philippians 4:7) That one finally makes sense of the command to “Pray constantly….” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
I am not holy.
I am broken.
I am a mess.
I am helpless.
It is in this helplessness that I fall down flat at His feet, lift up my tear-stained face, and cry out: “Where does my help come from?” (Psalm 121:1)
Oh, Friend! These are the most beautiful and holy of places, IF we are faithful to “lean not on our own understanding”. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
The places the world sees as the ugly and painful proof that God doesn’t care. The ones where, as humans, we decide to put God in the defendant’s seat and we place ourselves in the judge’s robes. We turn, and ask:
“Aren’t you big enough to stop this from happening?”
“Where are you now?”
“Don’t you care?”
“Don’t you see?”
But, if we see these interruptions as invitations, our whole world changes. A shattered heart over the death of a loved one is an invitation for the Potter to remold that heart into His image. The fear of an unknown growth is an invitation to live intentionally, aware of His constant presence. I don’t believe that we can understand His ways. I don’t pretend to know His “whys”. I only know that He longs for a relationship with you. Yes, YOU!! He will move heaven and earth to come to you. He even sent His Son to die for you. He LOVES YOU!!!
Hold tight to these truths, dear ones. Hold tight.