In the midst of chaos, God spoke. Interrupting darkness, He brought light. And disrupted a shapeless earth to fashion humanity and give purpose…
In the beginning.
So it is every day since Creation, since God began His pursuit of initiating relationship with human souls.
God speaks, and comes near, and moves from Eternal space to enter my space, invading and consuming the space surrounding me, within me – the space He gave form to… from the beginning.
He approaches each human, conceived in His image, and offers His presence, His power, wisdom, strength, compassion, provision and favor – each Divine and all in endless supply.
As one day follows another, and I wake to accomplish a new set of tasks, to complete this week’s projects before the next week comes, to cross through scrawled tasks on my daily To-Do lists in obligatory demands of family and ministry and work…
But before I’m dressed, a glow at the window draws my gaze beyond these walls to fresh colors of a new morning – a sky brushed with peachy-pinks and shimmering mango hues, capturing my attention and disrupting my pace.
As God whispers,
I AM. And I am here.
Can I interest you in a day spent with Me? A lifetime of days spent with Me?
The Spirit nudges, and the Father beckons.
Come away and meet with Me, and let Me transform your ordinary into a Kingdom adventure.
Each morning I awake, thinking, feeling like every other morning, opening eyes to view the same room, to hear the same sounds, to enter the same kitchen to prepare another meal…
Forgetting that each morning is fully new and unlike any other morning I’ve awaken to in the past. And the same choice presents itself:
To welcome each and all interruptions from the Divine, to embrace His transformation of my ordinary world.
This is what the Almighty has done time and again, through the centuries of every age and across the landscape of every culture. He steps into our space. And with a few words or a simple breath, a turn or nod of the head, He changes the course and re-routes our path, from everyday predictable to astounding!
The priest Zacharias had stopped expecting long ago anything except the ordinary.
He and Elizabeth had aged past the point of looking forward to or waiting for answers to their prayers, especially prayers for a family, for children, even just one child – to carry the father’s name, to erase the stigma of infertility. A tiny human to pour their love upon and to shape the character of, a mind to teach, a heart and soul to fill with nurturing and knowledge of the Holy.
But those days no longer existed, as Zacharias and Elizabeth’s dreams had long remained unfulfilled.
And on that first day of his week of priestly service, the two woke and worked early, as on any day when duty beckoned away from their home in the Judean hills.
So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. – Luke 1:8-10
One week of temple service two times a year, since the age of 30. How many decades had passed? A faithful couple doing the right thing at the right time all the time, just part of the accepted routine he and Elizabeth had become accustomed to.
Except for this time, the lot fell to Zacharias – a high honor to burn incense. The pinnacle of his lifelong vocation, no doubt. Not quite so ordinary, after all. Maybe even an answer to prayer?
Then an angel appeared. From God.
After 400 years of silence.
Zacharias hadn’t prepared himself for this – he wasn’t only afraid, he was skeptical.
Never imagined a disruption of this magnitude. Impossible… unbelievable…
An old woman will have a baby? My wife?!?
(But he had forgotten about Abraham and Sarah.)
…Behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time. – Luke 1:20
But God hadn’t forgotten.
The name Zacharias means, Jehovah has remembered.
Nine months of not speaking would give him plenty of time to look into Scripture, to ponder, to remember.
After he broke the news to his wife.
Did he point and gesture and try to make baby noises? And in the frustrated jumble did she hand him the tablet?
Just write it… she might have said, still trying to adopt new forms of communication, never dreaming what he meant.
An angel came and said you will have a baby!
I would guess she stared at those words all day of every day for the next nine months, and treasured the slate for the rest of her life.
Startling news, yes, but welcomed. And she and her husband would be forever changed.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We’re just one week past Christmas on this first day of 2016, and I’m asking if you, like me, tend to ignore or avoid or brush aside the interruptions God intentionally brings into our lives?
Since the beginning – and especially since the Fall – God’s disruptions are meant to bring good. For our good.
Then, silence… for an entire year times 400.
Zacharias. (Had he felt his heart grow cold, after not only national silence, but silence toward him personally?)
Peter and Andrew.
James and John.
Saul on the road to Damascus.
John on the island of Patmos.
And so many others.
The first Christmas had been spoken of prior, in centuries of stories and writings long before. And in that first Christmas story we see one interruption after another in the lives of the main characters and those who are nameless. Yes, the Messiah’s birth disrupted many lives that year (and continues to every year since).
An untimely pregnancy. A government census requiring a week-long trip on foot. Innkeepers barraged with would-be lodgers. Unwelcome news of a new king’s birth. The decree of death to all baby boys in the region. A trip to Egypt to escape the terror.
Then thirty-some years later, an innocent man’s death of an instrument of torture.
And three days following, an empty tomb where angels stood guard.
These events and so many more came as interruptions in the usual flow of daily life, for individuals minding their own hum-drum-ness, figuring God was busy doing His work elsewhere…
Too many lives filled with so much of the ordinary and not enough of Him.