Day 12: Dealing with Interruptions
Friday, February 18, 2022
Yesterday, we saw how Jesus practiced the habit of stillness by stopping for a night of prayer alone with God before a major ministry moment. This is a wise discipline for us to incorporate; to intentionally seek times of silence and stillness with God in prayer, especially when we have difficult or taxing situations ahead of us. As we are exploring this week, taking time to become silent and still in our body helps us become quiet in our hearts, allowing us to hear God’s voice more clearly.
However, sometimes we deal with circumstances that are beyond our control. Emergencies and crises arise, forcing us to stop and deal with the situation at hand. In these moments, it’s not always possible to slow down and be still. Jesus experienced this too.
Matthew 14:1-12 tells the story of John the Baptist’s death. On top of having an influential ministry, he was also Jesus’ cousin. When Jesus heard about it, he naturally wanted to be alone. As we will see, an interruption in the form of a massive crowd prevented that from happening. Let’s see how he responded.
“As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
That evening the disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.’ But Jesus said, ‘That isn’t necessary—you feed them.’ ‘But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!’ they answered.
‘Bring them here,’ he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!”
Jesus heard about the death of John the Baptist and wanted to be alone. But thousands of people followed him to the remote area where he was. Jesus had a choice: avoid the crowds or embrace them. He chose compassion, allowing himself to be interrupted. The result was his most famous miracle, the feeding of the five thousand.
Sometimes, life happens, and we cannot have the alone time we crave. We can prioritize it when we are able, but it’s not always up to us. Regardless of what is happening around us, we can keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. When we live with a healthy rhythm of time alone with God in prayer, we are better equipped to deal with the interruptions that life brings.
When it is within your ability to do so, keep prioritizing your personal prayer time with God. The days that are beyond our control reveal why it’s necessary to take time to cultivate a godly inner world. We develop our prayer lives because we will inevitably face moments that put our faith to the test. On that day, we must already have a firm foundation. We spend time with God in prayer in advance of when we need it, so we can withstand challenges when they come.
Focus on being present with God even when your day does not go as planned. Or when it feels like you have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Find small moments to stop and pray regardless of what you must accomplish today. Focus on building the foundation of your prayer life; that is why we commit to spending this time with Him daily.
Prayer: “Lord, help me be present with You no matter what I face today. Help me learn to be with You in silence and stillness now for the days when that isn’t possible. I commit to developing a strong prayer life and having an inner world aligned with You. I give You all of me. Today, help me live as Jesus did. Amen.”
By Dave Mann
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