I am in Texas visiting my mom and step-dad this week. The girls and I are beginning our annual grandparent tour in Texas….first here in Fort Worth for a few days, then off to Granbury to see their paternal grandparents. Since I spent the majority of my adolescence here in this part of Texas, I generally get to see a few of my childhood friends as well. This trip each year is one of the highlights of our summer traditions.
This morning, I attended a bible study with my mom at her church. It is taught by their senior pastor, who I think is fabulous. I got to be part of the second week of a study they are doing called Jesus Interrupted.
Today we talked about the difference between interruptions and intrusions in our life. Apparently, they talked last week about interruptions. In reading back over the material from last week, it seems that they had the opportunity to look at several instances where Jesus was on his way somewhere and he encountered an unexpected interruption on his journey. In all of these instances, Jesus chose to stop what he was doing and set aside his intended goal in order to interact with the person who had wandered into his path. In these instances, he made the choice to stop and offer healing and care to the persons involved. Because he was not overly tied to his agenda of the moment, he could attend to the higher purposes for which he was sent. In our own lives, we similarly have the choice to view the unexpected, the unplanned and the inconvenient interruptions we encounter as precious opportunities for ministry….divine appointments to realize our own role in bringing about the Kingdom of Heaven.
This week, we discussed intrusions. Ben suggested that, while interruptions offered us a choice about responding or continuing on our way, intrusions allowed no such choice. Intrusions are the times when something is dropped into our lap where we have no choice about whether or not we get involved. This detour to our plan….our agenda….our projected path is here and we have to deal with it. A couple of the examples that the group offered were things like serious illness, divorce and grandparents unexpectedly raising grandchildren. These intrusions were realities that had to be addressed and, it was suggested, are often opportunities to define our identity. In the fire of this unexpected and unwanted disruption of our life, we find out of just what stuff we are made. A refining fire, perhaps, that offered the possibility of great treasure as the end result of that time in the fire.
This discussion brought to mind one of my favorite quotes…a quote which, in fact, I have hanging on the wall of our powder room. This quote has, strangely enough, been attributed to Albert Einstein:
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
If you choose to live your life as though everything is potentially a miracle, then interruptions are seen as holy opportunities, rather than frustrating obstacles. If you choose to live your life as though everything is possibly a miracle, then intrusions are seen as vehicles for spiritual growth and opportunities to grow closer to God, rather than random tragedies and evidence of a life irreparably destroyed. If you choose to live your life as though everything might be a miracle, then each interaction, each encounter, each conversation presents the opportunity to be used by God in the healing of His world.
The question then becomes this: which way do we choose to live our life?