Excuse me . . . May I interrupt?

Recently I read someone’s opinion that a lot of God’s work takes place in the interruptions in our life. This is an interesting point. Jesus runs across Zaccheus hiding in a tree, a woman reaches out and grabs his hem, they run out wine at a wedding he attends, and miracles happen. It would make an interesting Bible study to look in both Testaments at all the times God breaks in when the ‘normal’ gets interrupted – and then really get disrupted! You have probably heard that there are different words for ‘time’ in the New Testament. The normal flow of time is chronos (hence chronology). A special instant is kairos, as in ‘the time has come’. Most of us like a nice smooth flow of chronos, things happening the way we expect. But most of the notable things in life seem to happen at kairos moments – for good and for bad. We see that person across the room fall in love, we are shocked by a friend’s betrayal; we get the new job, we lose our old job; we get healed, we get injured …. These are the moments when our life’s autopilot is disrupted and we have choices to make, and God has a fresh opportunity to get our attention and break into our lives.

Despite our preference for that smooth, predictable flow, we all know that life is actually made up of a continuous series of interruptions from the trivial (another red light!) to the gigantic (t-boned at a red light). These are opportunities for God to take whatever the interruption, no matter whether it appears good or bad on the surface, and use it for good. This is his promise to us.

But interruptions are not just for us. If we will stay alert, we will find that the interruptions in life are often the opportunities for us to ‘bring the kingdom’ into someone’s life or some situation. Rather than rushing past them and trying to ‘get back on track’, let’s ask the Lord what he is doing. Maybe this interruption for us is a significant kairos moment for someone else. God is opening a door and putting us on the threshold as his ambassador.

If you are like me, you are probably intimidated by the notion of evangelism when it calls to mind trying to break through the resistance of someone who doesn’t even want to talk about spiritual matters and violently disagrees with what you would have to say to them anyway. That is not really a very likely formula for success even if we had the courage or bullheadedness to do it! But what if we were to see that God has placed us in the flow of time and events so that we are ready for those interruptions in our lives and the lives of those around us, those kairos moments. Jesus is sitting by the well when the Samaritan woman comes for water and starts up a wise-cracking spiritual discussion. We are having some neighbors over for a barbeque when they mention they just lost their job. Rush past and get back on the chronos train as quickly as possible or step into the kairos and see what God is up to?