Interruptions Can Be A Blessing

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Life is no bowl of cherries.  It’s full of the unwanted and unexpected.  It’s full of interruptions.  Life is going along at a steady pace, and then a visit to a doctor.  Then a biopsy.  And then, a change of schedule and an effort to change a few habits.  What next?  Self-pity? Or a prayer for a new beginning?

George Washington’s heart was set on being a sailor in the British Navy.  He even had his ticket for a trip to England.  At the last moment, circumstances prevented his going.  He was deeply saddened.  However, something better came along.  Instead of becoming a sailor, Washington became the father of a nation as the first President of the United States.  David Livingstone planned on being a missionary to China.  However, the Opium War prevented his entry into the country.  So, though disappointed, he turned to Africa and found God’s will for his life there.

Disappointments can become God’s appointments.  Interruptions can open new doors for those who are willing to risk change.  Being flexible is a great asset.  Sometimes the detours of life can be a real blessing.  I was on vacation a while back in a place overlooking a large lake.  Early one morning I went to a beautiful, quiet place to meditate and pray.  In a few minutes, I heard a big splash close to the lake’s edge.  “Lord, I’ll be back in a minute,” I prayed as I put down my Bible and hurried to fetch my rod and reel.  In no time at all, I met my interruption by pulling a nice bass up on the bank.  I wish all of my interruptions were that enjoyable and simple!

It seems to me that losing a loved one is the most difficult interruption of all.  Your world is torn apart, and you wonder if you can ever make a good adjustment.  Suddenly, your life changes.  You try to move on, develop new interests and make new friends, but still there’s a hole in your heart.  Peace comes only when you realize that you can’t own anyone, and that this person was a gift from God in the first place.  Peace comes when you can accept death, not as an enemy, but as part of the scheme of things.  This is especially true when the deceased has lived a long, full life.  Death for a young person can be a different matter all together.

I like the story of Lin Yutang, a Chinese philosopher, who lived with his son on a farm.  One day, after their horse wandered away, a friend said, “Oh, how terrible!”  Lin replied, “How do you know it’s terrible?”  A week later, the horse returned with a whole herd of other horses in tow.  The friend exclaimed, “Congratulations on your luck!”  Lin countered, “How do you know that it’s good luck?”  A week later, Lin’s son fell off one of the horses, breaking his leg.  Again the friend said, “Oh, how terrible!” Lin again inquired, “How do you know it’s terrible?”  A month later, a war broke out and all young men who were of able body were drafted to the conflict.  Lin’s son was spared; a result of the broken leg.  The friend remarked, “What good fortune.”  In turn, Lin said…

The story goes on and on, from good to bad and back again.  There is a simple but profound truth in this saga.  No event is final.  How do you know that something is good or bad? All of our days are not in yet.  All of our experiences haven’t come to pass.  One of my favorite Bible verses comes from Paul’s Letter to the Romans (8:28), “All things work together for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.”  We can handle our interruptions when our faith is greater than our frustration.

God has not promised
Skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways
All our lives thro’;
God has not promised
Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.

God has not promised
We shall not know
Toil and temptation,
Trouble and woe;
He has not told us
We shall not bear
Many a burden,
Many a care.

But God has promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the laborer,
Light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
Help from above,
Unfailing sympathy,
Undying love.

                                            -Annie Johnson Flint