Sunday, November 12, 2006

Interrupted for a lesson

Has God ever interrupted your "quiet time" for a very practical lesson? Perhaps a needy neighbor dropped by, or a sleeping child awoke with an earache ... or maybe a meal needed to be prepared.

How do you respond to such interruptions? If you're like me, you struggle with irritation. After all, my quiet time is my only down time of the day, and I need that time with the Lord to get through the challenges ahead! Ironically, it is when my quiet time is interrupted that I'm least likely to be in the frame of mind to learn an unscheduled lesson from God. Instead, I focus on what I had planned for that time and spend my efforts trying not to be irritable at the interruption.

Those experiences help me understand the disciples' hardness of heart at the lesson of the loaves and fishes. Mark 6:30-52 records the story. Don't miss the fact that the lesson of the loaves came during an interruption of their time alone with the Lord!

30 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When He went ashore He saw a great crowd, and He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And He began to teach them many things. 35 And when it grew late, His disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36 Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37 But He answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38 And He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.” 39 Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40 So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41 And taking the five loaves and the two fish He looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And He divided the two fish among them all. 42 And they all ate and were satisfied. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44 And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

45 Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He dismissed the crowd. 46 And after He had taken leave of them, He went up on the mountain to pray. 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and He was alone on the land. 48 And He saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw Him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

"they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened." An interruption in their scheduled time alone with Jesus held a lesson, but they did not get it. Their hearts were hardened. As I studied this recently, I asked myself, "How many lessons have I lost because my quiet time was interrupted and my heart was hard?"

My prayer for you is that you will have sensitive hearts to discern divine appointments, lessons from the Lord ... even if they interrupt your quiet time.

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