I was driving to work earlier this week, reflecting on Christmas day and the holiday season in general. I was riding in silence when in my spirit I heard, “Pardon the Interruption.” Hearing these words reminded me of being in a busy shopping mall, or at a hospital when all of a sudden a voice comes over the PA and says, “Excuse this interruption…,” then proceeds to tell everyone the reason for the interruption.
As I drove, I thought about the various interruptions I’ve had over the past two years, and wondered which one He was referring to. Was it the interruption of my position being eliminated in 2016, and I’ve been seeking purposeful employment since? Was it the interruption of planning a conference this year, then suddenly having to cancel it due to circumstances beyond my control? Was it the interruption of a relationship that I hold dear to my heart changing after many years?
Sometimes God doesn’t give us a heads up before interrupting our day to day activities. He doesn’t ask permission to move us out of comfort zone, or to change things up a bit. He doesn’t tap us on the shoulder to see if we are okay with the new order of things. God does what is needed to get our attention, and to move us closer to Him and to our destiny.
As I continued to drive, I thought more about the word “pardon.” To pardon means to forgive, absolve, release. It means to excuse or overlook. We don’t tend to think much about excusing an interruption or overlooking an interruption, because most interruptions last for only a moment. They’re an afterthought. But what happens when the interruption lasts longer than a moment? What do you do when the interruption lasts for days, months, weeks even years? Is it still an interruption worthy of pardoning? Is it still considered an interruption, or have you stepped over into a world called “New Normal,” because your normal way of doing things have permanently changed? This phrase “Pardon the Interruption” teaches us a few things:
1. Interruptions can occur at any moment.
Interruptions can happen anytime and sometimes without warning. At preaching conference a few years ago a preacher shared how things were going well with him and his family, then all of a sudden his wife died and he was left to raise 2 children, while learning how to pastor a church and go to school. His life changed in an instant and there was nothing he could do about it. Sometimes life happens. And it hits with blunt force! Sometimes we walk away beat up and bruised. Other times we walk away unscathed physically, but the impact of life has our emotions in pieces and our mind without peace because it all happened so suddenly.
2. There is an expectation to comply.
If you noticed, whenever a PA announcement is made no one checks to see if what we’re doing. The announcement doesn’t care you are uncomfortable with it, or if you weren’t prepared. However, there is an expectation that those who are listening will comply to what is being asked. Obedience is still required in the interruption. Fighting against the grain will only wear you out. God sometimes doesn’t provide us with answers to our questions. Sometimes we never know why something happened, but we are expected to accept that has happened and move forward.
I say move forward instead of move on because the term “move on” in times of great pain sounds so dismissive. As a matter of fact, moving on has proven to be the most difficult thing you’ve had to do and you’re wondering, “How can I move on and my loved one is gone?” “How can I move on and my house with all of memories was lost in a fire.” “With everything that has taken place, you expect me just pick up and move on?”
Some are paralyzed by the loss and cannot move. Sometimes the interruption is so loud and startling that you can’t hear, see or move past the point of where this thing barged into your life and placed a demand on you to change, whether you wanted to or not. But you have to move. Moving forward demonstrates movement and progress, and it allows those who are dealing with the interruption to receive empathy and compassion as they move forward.
3. There is an expectation to forgive the interruption that has taken place.
Whatever it is has changed your life, and you have been unable to move forward because you’ve been unable to forgive. You have given the appearance of forgiveness, but you’ve really been passive aggressive with your pain, with others and with God. Admitting to God that you are angry, and yes angry with Him because of the interruption, is the first step to releasing it from your heart.
God can handle our anger. He has thick skin. And He has open ears and a heart of compassion. He is ready for a transparent conversation with you. It’s okay to say you’re angry with Him. It’s perfectly fine to say it hurts. Truth be told, interruptions can be difficult to release because in them are precious memories of “once upon a time” and “remember when.” The interruption contained loved ones and lessons learned. Entangled in the interruption is what I knew well, and what I don’t know at all. So I hold on tight to the interruption because although it brought me extreme pain, in a twisted kind of way, the pain is all I know and releasing it will open myself up to another interruption that has the potential to hurt me even more. So instead of releasing or pardoning the interruption, I hold on to it with a vice grip because at least I know what this interruption did to me. I know what this disruption took from me. I know what this intrusion in my life cost me.
However, if we don’t pardon the interruption we void ourselves of the possibility of being healed and seeing brighter days on the other side of it.
What pause took place in your life that caused you to be angry with God and tune out His voice?
2019 is right around the corner! Enter the new-year with a new outlook, understanding that an interruption to your life doesn’t mean that your life is over or has ended. God gives us the strength we need to acquiesce to, adjust and eventually accept the interruption that what has taken place. He also gives us a new routine or new normal where we can be benefactors of His love, peace, mercy and grace. God is with us, even in the interruption. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Scriptures for Reflection
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:12)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)