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. Bennett, Your article came at a time when I experienced God interrupting my plans! I knew, without doubt, that God was telling me it was His Will and not mine. Yet, he made sure I could not do it! For once, I knew and listened. What a blessing that God interrupted as He works in and through me.

    Nancy S.

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    • Yes Nancy! So thankful we are in this together. I love how God works in and through the Body!

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  2. Thank you. I needed to read this.

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    • Judy, I’m so glad! God is so faithful to draw our eyes to Himself in unexpected ways. So thankful we are walking through this study together!

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  3. Thank you Bennett, your blog is extremely timely- especially during the holidays!

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    • Kristianne, this season can be so distracting! Praying for focus on Christ along with you ❤️

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  4. Thank you, God interrupted my business this morning so I could STOP and read your article. I move forward with a renewed perspective for my day. ❤️

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    • Irene, that’s awesome! Praying for a renewed perspective too

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  5. Good morning Bennet. May God continue to bless you and empower you in the explanation of His word. It was enlightening especially the line which caught my attention “Jesus responded with FAITH & Confidence trusting the Father to accomplish His plan”.
    I think, for me, I thought mostly of the sovereignty of Jesus, failing to remember that while on earth He was fully man. He demonstrated His humanity and set an example for us to follow. Thanks

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    • Angela, yes! I’m so tempted to think “well, that worked for Jesus but can’t work for me.” So grateful for the Hebrews 2:17 reminder!

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  6. So many morsels to chew on in this article! What a call to my heart to ask myself:
    Am I practicing looking for God’s interruptions?
    Am I ready?
    Am I willing?
    This was so well written and inspiring! Thank you.

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    • Amy, I’m so glad you are encouraged! A lot of room for us to “practice” in the weeks ahead 🙂

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  7. Thank you Bennet! I read your article aloud as my husband and I were driving. It inspired and motivated us to be ready and eager to meet Jesus’ plans wherever we are and no matter what we’re doing. Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Thank you for this perspective. I love thinking of God orchestrating my crooked yet straight path every day.

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  9. After reading this I realize how much I need to learn to hold my plans loosely before The Father. Thank you for this much-needed insight.

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    • Sheri, I am constantly asking God to remind me of this also. I’ll pray that for you, too. So grateful we are walking through Matthew together!

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  10. This article was encouraging and affirmed my belief. I struggle with staying on tasks when I’m interrupted by the needs of others. Many times, I allow the interruption believing that it’s where God wants/need me at that time. And, knowing what I was doing will still be there.

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    • Tanya, I’m so encouraged by this – “knowing what I was doing will still be there” ! So often I think that the world rests on my shoulders when it is really held in the palm of His hand. Thankful for you!

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  11. Thank you Bennett for sharing your conviction and challenge about being “willing.” In my heart I’ve always was willing to do what the Holy Spirit would ask me to do. However, after reading Matthew 9 and attending BSF group study concerning this chapter, I now know that I’ve been wrestling with fear and now I realize how fear has an affect on hindering my immediate obedience to submitting to the voice of Father God. Since reading your blog and attending BSF Matthew chapter 9 group
    study, I now realize that with the Holy Spirit’s help and empowerment that I already have the victory over the Spirit of Fear. I must choose to TRUST my Father God and truly Believe that He is directing my steps in this life.

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    • Amen, Marcia! Our life has also taken twists and turns. I too am tempted to let fear drive my decision making. Thankful to study alongside you!

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  12. Your insights are a reminder for me to invite people to engage in God’s kingdom as they willing but need some encouragement to engage.

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  13. This reminds me of a vital understanding from lesson 7. “Moment by moment consciousness of God’s presence and power changes what the believer values and pursues.” Surrendering each day’s moments to God helps me recognize and appreciate His interruptions as opportunities to do His Will.

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  14. Her words are so true! I have the choice daily to listen to God’s voice in my life and to answer the question—am I willing. And He waits for my reply. Thanks for this thought-provoking article.

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  15. What a wonderful way to start my morning, reading
    Bennett’s blog! I was feeling interrupted by my husband’s and my Breakthrough Covid that we are just now getting through. But, our prayers and those of many others were what kept us going, trusting our amazing God! This blog was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. Our God is amazing!! Thank you!

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  16. Such a timely message. Thank you!

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  17. Thank you for this reminder. At times I get so busy I view an interruption as an inconvenience. This has helped me to view interruptions in a different light. It is not that I didn’t know this I didn’t always recognize that God’s plan and my plans didn’t always coincide. Thank you! 🙏

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  18. Just 1 faithful person, that decides to take the right step, sends off rippels on the water that can touches the lives of many: the mercy of God did that, the compassion of Jesus, the honest account of the apostles, our BSF classes, every true follower & see this beautiful encouragement!

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  19. That is good stuff Ms.Rolan. Thank you for allowing God to interrupt whatever life goals you may have had so that you are able to write for His glory. I know that your book will be a blessing to many!

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  20. I am so encouraged by this article. Now that I am retired, I find myself interrupted on a daily basis with family needs and conversations. I longed for the day to be able to have the “time” for my family to help and be an encourager. Many days, I find myself exhausted with these, but I stay encouraged and reminded as I study BSF and God’s word. How wonderful it is to be in God’s word with christian sisters and brothers around the world!!! I know Mrs. Johnson would be overwhelmed with the growth of BSF as well as its influence in people’s lives and families. Great article Mrs. Bennett!!

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  21. I am now willing to be interrupted by God. When I wake up I think of feeding my chickens and cleaning my house before dashing off to work and only think of God when I am already driving and I am now fearing the traffic congestion ahead. Thanks for this reminder. I pray that I give God time for interaction above all else.

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  22. Just what I needed after receiving a scary diagnosis. Am I willing to be interrupted by God, trusting that He will expand my time and capacity to accomplish His plans?  

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  23. Well said!

    I also ask myself, am I willing? Interruptions from God should be taken positively.

    God bless you with your great writing.

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  24. Thank you Bennett! Your blog has been a blessing to me! Your well written words reminded me to put our Lord first! Sometimes I get caught up in achievement and the desire to pursue things and tasks, making myself the center of everything. May the Lord give me an obedient heart!

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  25. This is a very real experience in my life. Countless times God has messed up my day by day and moment by moment plans. When I resisted, I did not enjoy my day/moment, and in many cases, I did not achieve what I had set out to do. When I gradually learnt to accept His re-direction, albeit reluctantly, I experienced miracles and found joy in doing what God had re-directed me to do. I still resist but thank God I am on a learning trajectory

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  26. Thanks for this amazing word of truth. I am willing and ready for God’s interruption and plans to be accomplished in my life.

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  27. Thank you for this reflection on when God interrupts. My prayer to God is for discernment to recognize Godly interruptions and for the Holy Spirit to help me to respond to those interruptions in a way that glorify God and spreads His love

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  28. I am blessed by this message that challenges me to be willing to listen to God when He interrupts.

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  29. Loved this! Just what I needed.

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  30. My BSF study open my eyes every day. Especially the study of the book of Mathew, the lessons have made me become different and unique every day.
    I well know that on my knees, at the feet of Jesus, my righteousness which I received free when I believed Jesus as my Lord and Savior will be sustained.
    Amen.
    Jesus is willing to touch my concerns and heal me instantly.
    I will therefore not carry any burden but instead believe Him for anything.
    Amen

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  31. First of all I thank God for Bennett and the BSF team. As I was reading this article I kept feeling the drawing to write.i am a 78 yr. old retired Nursing Administrator and 6 months ago there was an ” interrupted ” in my husband and i’s life, I have struggled to some extent during these months, as I thought I heard The Lord say in Jan. 2020 that we would be ” supporting ” a young person, I realize now that I didn’t seek HIM for further instructions- but just today at 3pm we received a call from the Government girls home asking for a meeting to decide if we would take the young lady “17” on a permanent basis . After being so moved with Matthew 8 and Now Ch. 9, ” am I willing” you know what my answer has to be. Not any ” interruption ” but a ” Divine Interruption ” thank you for this powerful God inspired article. Please continue to pray for us.

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  32. Such a beautiful work, thank you for posting it! A BSF senior woman who also loves God’s word

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  33. Praise God for the interruptions! Well written and great research! THANK YOU.

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  34. Thanks

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  35. I get frustrated when I’m interrupted doing God’s work.

    Thank you for reminding me that it’s all in God’s plan.

    Reply

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