Are you busy when God interrupts?

Exploring Jesus’ Miracles in Matthew 9

By Bennett Rolan – BSF Editorial Manager

Before my alarm clock could ring, I was already awake. Lying in bed and staring at the ceiling, I mentally worked through my to-do list. 

I had school lunches to pack, emails to read, yesterday’s laundry to fold and, yet somehow, I desperately needed to find time to connect with the Lord. 

Busyness isn’t an excuse for neglecting time with our Father. But balancing everyday demands can feel overwhelming, limiting our time and spiritual availability. 

As I prayed through my frustration, I thought about Jesus’ daily life. While He was responsible for shepherding 12 wayward men, He taught crowds of thousands, built an eternal kingdom, and withstood consistent opposition to His ministry. 

Jesus was busy! But in Matthew 8:1, when “large crowds followed Him,” He paused to respond to a request to heal a man with leprosy. When I read Jesus’ words in verse 3, I’m stunned by His powerful response, “I am willing.”

Examining my own heart, I have to ask, “Am I willing?” 

Am I willing to be interrupted? Am I willing to sacrifice my productivity, my comfort, and my control to be interrupted by those God places in my path?

In his famous work, Life Together, German Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks. … It is a strange fact that Christians and even ministers frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they will allow nothing to disturb them. They think they are doing God a service in this, but actually they are disdaining God’s ‘crooked yet straight path.’” 

Jesus Saw Her

In Matthew 9:18, a desperate synagogue leader knelt before Jesus saying “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” We might expect Jesus to rush, following God’s direction and serving this influential man. 

But in Matthew 9:22, Jesus stopped on the way. When a suffering woman touched His robe, “Jesus turned and saw her.” 

Jesus saw beyond the woman’s position and status. He paused, setting His plans aside to respond tenderly to her, calling her “daughter.” Instead of rushing through the crowd to the home of an important man, Jesus took time to see straight to her heart. He saw her need and honored her faith.

1 Samuel 16:7b tells us, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Jesus Responded in Faith

After healing the woman, Jesus arrived at the Synagogue leader’s home. A crowd had already gathered to mourn the death of the sick young girl whom Jesus came to save. 

Jesus responded with faith and confidence, trusting the Father to accomplish His plan. His response seemed so ridiculous that the crowd “laughed at Him.”

Jesus miraculously raised the girl from the dead, and “News of this spread through all that region.”

The Father was glorified when Jesus was interrupted on His behalf, and He’s glorified when we respond with the same faith. So often, when my plans are derailed, I lose sight of how God may be working. I forget my faith, not trusting that when I’m interrupted by God, nothing, not even death, can stop His perfect plan.

Bigger Plans Than Ours

In 1938, when Bonhoeffer wrote Life Together, being “interrupted by God” meant putting his life on hold to actively resist the Nazi rise to power. He ultimately sacrificed his plans to become a university professor, to get married, and to start a family. Deeply sensitive to the needs of those around him, Bonhoeffer walked God’s “crooked yet straight path.”  

In 1940 he was forbidden from speaking in public. In 1941, his right to print or publish was revoked. In 1943, Bonhoeffer was finally arrested. He was executed in 1945, shortly before the Allied troops liberated the concentration camp. 

Throughout Hitler’s regime, Bonhoeffer faithfully defended God’s Word and His people. His response followed a pattern of daily commitment to God, holding his plans loosely before the Father. 

When we practice looking for God’s interruptions, we make a habit of seeing people as God does. And when a great moment comes, when He asks us to respond in faith, we are ready.

Personally, Matthew 9 forces me to ask, “Am I willing?” These verses challenge me to pray for eyes to see and a faith to respond.

Through Jesus’ moments on the cross and His resurrection, I find the courage to believe that God can accomplish anything. 

Acts 2:24 reminds us, “But God raised Him from the dead. He set Him free from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.”

If our Savior isn’t bound by death itself, then we can trust Him with our time, our schedules, our finances, and our fears.  We, too, can find the freedom to be interrupted by God, trusting that He will expand our time and capacity to accomplish His plans.

In light of the gospel, a busy day can be one more opportunity for God to interrupt. It’s one more day for us to respond. And it’s another moment for us to become a little more like Jesus.

Learn more about Jesus’s miracles in the book of Matthew. Join a BSF class near you! https://join.bsfinternational.org/ 

Bennett Rolan

Editorial Manager

Bennett Rolan joined the BSF staff in 2017 after working for several Christian ministries and non-profits. She loves to combine her passion for God’s Word and her journalism background to share stories of God’s Work in and through BSF. As a wife to a busy college football coach and a mom to four young children, BSF studies keep her relationship with the Lord grounded and focused. She loves to learn from fellow believers as God faithfully grows her each day.

 

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138 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for sharing that is very good thoughts and much needed in my life to pause if God is calling. I prayed for you. We are involved with A Football Life and we know the criticism can be painful at times. Blessings

    Reply
  2. Excellent principle from Matthew 9. I pray, that I too “am willing.”

    Reply

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