Making the most of interruptions
Let’s examine Luke 8:41-56.
A ruler of the synagogue is struggling. Jairus is his name. His daughter occupies her death bed. His only child. Desperate. Saddened. Heartbroken.
Teary-eyed, he wonders, “What can I do?”
He has heard of Jesus. The man responsible for mending what’s broken. Healing what’s hurting. Opening blind eyes. Redeeming what appears unredeemable.
“If only I can talk to Jesus,” he reasons.
He walks out the door. Taking each step fearfully. There’s nothing joyful about his appearance.
He locates Jesus. The synagogue ruler falls before the feet of a carpenter’s son. But Jesus is more than a man. He’s the Messiah.
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed” (Isa. 53:5 NLT).
And Jairus begs Him to come and heal his daughter.
A little conversation. A heart of compassion. Jesus finds himself walking in the direction of Jairus’s home.
Jairus is relieved. “It’s gonna be okay.” The religious leader has hope. Here comes the Healer to his daughter’s side.
But something strange happens. All of a sudden, Jesus asks, “‘Who touched Me?’” (V. 45 NKJV).
No response. Peter thinks Jesus is an idiot. After all, they’re walking through a crowd of people. Anyone could have touched Jesus!
Jesus insists, “‘Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me’” (V. 46 NKJV).
The disciples look at one another. Jairus waits impatiently. Is Jesus hallucinating?
Finally, she steps forward. A bewildered woman approaches the Savior.
She explains why she touched Him. The twelve years of menstrual bleeding. The endless pursuit of physicians. Touching His cloak. Receiving immediate healing.
Jesus responds, “‘Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace’” (V. 48 NKJV).
Then, a messenger appears. He speaks to Jairus, saying, “‘Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher’” (V. 49 NKJV).
Jairus sighs. His hope shatters. Tears fill his eyes. “If only,” he reasons, “Jesus hadn’t stopped to talk to that woman.”
Jesus was on His way, but He was interrupted.
Don’t you just hate interruptions? I know I do. They’re inevitable. Bound to happen. But how do you respond when they come?
I recently realized something in this Bible story. You see, it was unnecessary for Jesus to acknowledge the girl’s presence. Why? Because she “… came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped” (V. 44 NKJV).
In other words, Jesus didn’t need to stop and talk to this woman because she was already healed. But for some reason, Jesus took time away from Jairus and his daughter to speak with her.
Was He teaching His followers that a synagogue leader wasn’t superior to a lowly woman?
Was He challenging the synagogue leader’s faith by letting his daughter die?
Or maybe, just maybe, He was making the most of His interruption. Intentionally loving God’s broken child.
“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us” (1 John 4:11-12 NLT).
I don’t know about you, but I’m challenged by how Jesus responded to His interruption. I mean, He was in the middle of an important task, but—even still, He sacrificed time to communicate with the woman. Considering the woman was already healed, communicating with her wasn’t even necessary.
When I’m interrupted, I become unsettled. A little angry. Ignorant. I don’t listen very well.
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20 NKJV).
Be prepared for interruptions. In fact, you may even be interrupted while serving God. But when you’re interrupted, I challenge you to make the most of it. Communicate. Listen. And let God’s perfect love shine through you.
By the way, Jesus made it to the home of Jairus. And yes, his daughter was healed!