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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142 Comments

  1. I too, ask myself “Am I willing”. I want to be willing, but fear what I will have to be willing to do. I pray for strength and courage to answer God’s call.

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    • Agnes, I understand! Our pastor this weekend talked about fear and asking “what if.” That is my immediate reaction! Praying for a faith outlook over fear. Praying for you too!

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  2. Wow! Am I willing to be interrupted by God?

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  3. Thank you so much… with His Grace I will remember to trust and joyfully respond to His interruptions and remember yours and Bonhoeffer’s words. How easily we are distracted
    from our daily walk by the cares of this World.

    Blessings to you and BSF.

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  4. Thank you for blessing me today. Wonderful insight to this scripture.

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  5. “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.”  – AMEN for this powerful, spiritual insight. I know that even a flat tyre on my commute isn’t just an inconvenience, I seek to know what God is telling me with that ‘flat tyre’ interruption, I get more attentive to listen to His quiet voice. God Bless you all

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    • Gathoni, thank you for sharing! He is so faithful in all things, praying for “attentiveness” also

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    • This is powerful Gathoni.

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  6. Thanks so much for your message of being interrupted! I will take it to heart. Blessings for Thanksgiving Day and ever after, Mary

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    • Thank you for your insight!

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  7. This story touches my heart.
    I have been a BSF member since 2013, but stepped out of BSF to care for my son who has cancer.
    I wonder how would Jesus had handled this. Would he still had made time for BSF and cared for a son who is battling cancer? Am I a quitter?

    Reply
    • Dear Judy, absolutely not! God uses tools like BSF to draw Him to us in different seasons. His Word is not bound by a Bible Study but transforms us through the Holy Spirit. We would love to have you in a BSF group, but know that God will meet you as you seek Him during this challenging time. I’ll pray for you, Judy, and ask that God will draw near. I’m praying that you’ll feel His presence daily. You are not alone! If you are looking for a way to study through BSF on your own, WordGo offers BSF studies in an app that can be done individually. You can find that information here! https://wordgo.org/

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    • Judy, Your comment touched my heart. Quitter?? I don’t think I would use that harsh of a word. You are caring for an ill person. I have found however, that staying in BSF has helped me through some really hard times. Staying focused on HIM, makes all things easier. Praying for you right now!!

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      • Karen, beautifully shared!

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    • Judy, caring for your son doesn’t make you a quitter… makes you a mum who rightly loves her son and what a gift to have the time to care for him!
      I had a thought that bsfonline might be a good option for you… it’s only an hour a week of discussion which you can do from home. The support from others in the group would be encouraging for you. Your son may benefit from you discussing what you’re reading too! Mother and son reading the word together would be beautiful! And of course there’s no pressure to do all your lesson cos you’ll still learn from showing up 1 hr a week and listening to the others in the group. Having a BSF group from around the world committed to praying over you and your son each week might be a perfect gift for your family. Just a thought. .

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      • Anne, such a great thought! I love this thread of BSFers around the world praying for Judy and her son. So thankful for the Body of Christ!

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  8. Bennett’s question is such a powerful reminder to me…”Am I willing?’
    “I am asking for the Lord’s help!

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  9. Although I have studied the bible for many years, God always reveals something new to me. Just think…Jesus carried out God’s plans without interruption. What if he had decided I am not going to the cross, because I have something more important to do. What’s more important than spending time with God.

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    • Yvonne, that is so true! How can any task be more fruitful than connecting with the Father? So simple but too easy for me to forget. Thankful for you!

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  10. Loved the little devotion

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  11. We can make every excuse in the world not to be about God’s business. I find myself volunteering to help without thinking. I drop and do for others knowing I live with myself and can do “me” later. More of God and less of me.
    Thanks Bennett for the good reminder. I enjoyed it.

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  12. Praise God who responds to our faith and see’s us right where we are at.

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    • Amen, Esther! He goes before us on the mountains and into the valleys. Thankful for your faith!

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  13. “We, too, can find the freedom to be interrupted by God, trusting that He will expand our time and capacity to accomplish His plans. “ What a timely reminder for me ! Praise the Lord for He knows our weakness and needs !

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    • So amazing how one can be mean with time which is in Gods hands anywhere! The Almighty desires to fellowship with His children and wants to reveal Himself to us! Can only do this when we avail ourselves to His bidding. Lord help me surrender my time to you. I mean quality time!

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      • Shumie, I love that you said “quality time.” I’m so quick to pray and “check it off my to-do list.” Thank you for that reminder.

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      • Amen.

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  14. I like the aspect of allowing an “interruption from God” it is a good reminder that we have to be careful to put time with God first even in the midst of our busy schedules, not forgetting that all what makes us busy is from Him!

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    • Jennifer, such a great thought!

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  15. Putting God first is our calling but we get caught up in daily routines and needs. This struck home as realized I need to be more open to His directing my life.

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  16. READING THIS GIVES ME A LOT TO THINK ABOUT.I KNOW I NEED TO PUT MY PRIORITIES IN ORDER.

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  17. Iam blessed to be in Bsf

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  18. I am challenged to ask myself am “I willing to be interrupted by God ” in order that HE would complete his work and be glorified. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

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  19. So good… I awake now with Lord I can’t do this !!! But you can so Lets get up and get going…Each day another gift and I look to see the gems He hides along the path…Blessings my Dear Sister in Christ Jesus

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  20. Woh, this is awesome and mind opening ‼️Am I always ready to be interrupted by God? Lord I ask that the Holy Spirit help me to be ready for Your interruptions at all times in Jesus precious name. Amen 🙏🏼.

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  21. “We… can …be interrupted by God” yes, but when God interrupts, how I respond is reflective of my relationship w/Him. Am I where I should be to know that God is calling for a connection w/me? Is my relationship on track? Thank you for this message so thoughtfully and beautifully presented.

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  22. Bennett, apologies for not reading this earlier, but i was really busy! should have stopped and read it right away. Great reminder, thank you.

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    • Thank you for this beautiful reminder. I am…ready to be interrupted by God ? This means given out my time, self and comfort- to do the Father’ will, first! @ all time.

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  23. Thank you so much. Reminds me to be looking for Jesus’ interruptions.

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  24. Such a nourishment. Be blessed.

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  25. This is so very thought provoking and needed for me to ‘chew’ on. Thank you!

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  26. This article caught me red handed. I was scrolling through my email and came by the email from BSF and I thought should I open this or leave it for later which of course with the busy activities of the day I will forget. As I then read your article I understood it was God interrupting me.I gained better knowledge of Jesus first miracle from Dr Jonathan Pennington article which rightly encourages me to have faith in all situations.

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  27. Thank you for reminding me of keeping focus on Jesus’ power & compassion.

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  28. What wisdom in your comments and a great reminder to all of us that we need to respond YES to God’s interruptions! Thank You so much for allowing God to use you in your writing to encourage others. What a gift! Praise God for His word and the ability to study it in BSF.

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  29. Very encouraging to be reminded that Jesus was busy yet had time to heal when interrupted. He stopped on His way to go raise the dead daughter of an important man to heal a suffering woman who touched His rope. I am moved by this to allow God interrupt any part of my day and life for His glory. Thank you very much for reminding me of Jesus total submission to His Father’s leading moment by moment.

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  30. Wow! These article has reminded me why I’m in service to God. Thank you for reminding me to embrace and look forward to God’s interruptions.

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  31. Wow, spot on! I hear you God, loud & clear.

    Thank you for this article Bennett, it really spoke to me.

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  32. Thank you! I needed to hear your words.

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  33. This was really good 👍🏼 thank you. I have in Ta friend that have known since 1992. This blog gives meat to a Christian who has “learned on her own” but has ended up not really knowing what Jesus is really about. Your blog has helped clarify what and who Jesus is and does, and is about.. Thankyou

    Reply
  34. What a timely words I need to hear! Thank you!

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  35. Thank you! This read has helped me to navigate my narrow road with a more godly perspective.

    Reply

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