Jesus has a way of interrupting life. How do we respond to His leadership when it disrupts our plans? We have several examples in Scripture of those who accepted and rejected His call.
Herod had his plans interrupted by wise men who foretold of a coming king. In Matthew 2:3, the wise men ask, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
The following verse states that Herod was disturbed when he heard this. He did not want to relinquish control and acted out of fear of dethronement. He gave orders that all male children in Bethlehem younger than two years old were to be killed.
It’s easy to get angry when your control over life is taken over by Jesus.
While Herod held control tightly, Mary relinquished control. Mary’s life was interrupted by an angel saying she was chosen by God and would become pregnant as a virgin. She had every reason to kick back against this. She was engaged and risked not only social exile but death. And yet, she chose to give up the future she dreamed for herself in order to follow the leadership of God.
As an adult, Jesus disrupted the plans of the religious leaders. Because many of them held so tightly to their notions of what religion looked like and didn’t want to give Jesus control to change this, they plotted to murder Him. They studied years about the Messiah, but because He threatened to interrupt their lives and demand their submission, they allowed pride to blind their eyes.
It can be easy to hold onto our dreams too tightly, not willing to relinquish control of ambition or our vision for the future. But we must in order to truly see Jesus. Christ interrupts our plans, but we can trust that what He has for us is better than what we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
C.S. Lewis once said, “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”
Often we will find God works in His own timing and not ours. This means sometimes we are asked to follow Him at “inopportune” times. How can we accept the interruptions of life as God-given opportunities?
We must submit to God’s leadership and not our own. Job encourages us, “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way, prosperity will come to you” (Job 22:21). Take this to heart and realize that submission to the Lord will bring good things to your life, even if you cannot imagine living your life differently.
When you are ready to follow the Lord’s leadership, you can echo the words of Mary and say, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).