Sometimes we have our day all planned out – everything written neatly in the square of space on our calendar. And then, along comes an interruption.
I haven’t always handled these interruptions well. I really like it when things go according to schedules and plans. I mean, I’m managing a busy life here. Let’s get with the program.
But interruptions come. Whether I like them or not. The children come down with a virus, waylaying my plans for the week. A friend calls to talk when I’m about to head out the door. The neighbor stops me as I’m about to drive off to run the twenty errands on my to-do list. And just when I start to feel frustrated that my routine or schedule has been interrupted, I am reminded by that little holy whisper – People are more important than plans.
And the interruptions I’m tempted to see as a roadblock in my day, as a hindrance to tackling my to-do list, suddenly become clearly Divine Appointments.
You see, a Sovereign God is funny like that. He doesn’t always ask my permission to intervene in my day. Sometimes he just plops His plan for me right smack in the way of my plans for me. And the only choice I seem to have in the matter is my attitude about what He’s doing.
I can choose to be annoyed and frustrated. Or I can choose to accept this interruption as a God-ordained Divine Appointment for me.
It’s easier now than it used to be. I think that’s because I have been that interruption.
I was the friend calling at the most inopportune time, bothering someone as she was about to head out her door, causing her to rearrange her schedule and sacrifice her own plans. “Patrick just passed out. Can you keep a couple of my boys for the night? I have to take Patrick to the ER.”
“Can I drop my boys at your house? And can you find someone to watch my other kids after school? Patrick called from the cardiologist’s office. It’s bad news. I may need to go be with him.”
“Kids, walk down the hall to Mrs. C’s apartment. Tell her your daddy just was shocked by his defibrillator. The ambulance is coming, and I need to get Daddy downstairs.” And I seriously sent my kids to a neighbor’s home without even asking. Because I didn’t know what else to do. And I needed help.
And these friends – and many more – demonstrated God’s goodness to me. They didn’t act annoyed with my interruption to their schedules and plans. Kindly, compassionately, they accepted my need as a Divine Interruption to their days. And they helped me.
Years ago, I heard Jill Briscoe speak at a conference. I don’t remember all of what she said, but I do remember this. She said we demonstrate the character of Jesus and His incarnational ministry when we show up in someone’s need and say, “I just had to come. How can I help?”
This morning, I was on my way to lead a small group when I saw one of the moms from my small group standing alongside the road. She had been in a minor car accident. I pulled onto the shoulder of the road and called the other small group leader. “Go ahead and begin without us.” Evidently, God had a Divine Appointment for me. I stood beside her, amidst the roadside litter, “I just had to stop. I’m here to help you, whatever you need.”
And I didn’t feel the slightest bit of annoyance at the detour of my plans for the morning. Not the slightest. I’m learning to roll with it, to trust that God is doing whatever He is doing and I’m along for the adventure. And His plans for my day always trump my plans for the day. Always.
And, of course, I remember my friends who accepted my urgent needs with grace and kindness. And I think of that verse in 2 Corinthians that says “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received.” I can accept these Divine Appointments and be present and offer myself to help because others have done so for me. I have received that comfort and help, now I can offer the same to someone else.
People are more important than plans. Always. And that ill-timed phone call or child with strep throat or broken-down car or friend with an emergency is part of God’s planned schedule for my day. And I don’t want to miss out on what He has planned for me. Because everything He does is rooted in goodness. He can’t be anything but good.
How do you handle interruptions to your plans? Have you had any Divine Appointments lately? Can you tell us about something good that came from it?