Dear HCMC,

Greetings to you in Christ!

Recently, I have been reflecting on the interruptions or disruptions I have experienced in my life. Asa parent of young children, interruptions are the bread-and-butter of my daily living. Even as I write this, my wife Velma and I are grappling with alternative care-giving arrangements as my son Nathan has not been able to go to childcare today due to Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease (HFMD) cases in the school. I am sure you have your own stories to tell. Moreover, in recent weeks, all of us have faced disruptions due to the resurgence of Covid cases in Singapore. You might have caught the virus yourself. Just as we thought that the pandemic situation was behind us, we are now be set with renewed uncertainty. 

Well, if we trust that God is truly in sovereign and loving control over all this, then there must be a purpose to these disruptions. There must be spiritual lessons for us to learn from these “holy interruptions” that God has allowed to happen.

In Scripture, we find that Jesus was repeatedly interrupted throughout His earthly ministry. The crowds were constantly pressing upon Him with their needs. Once, when Jesus’ schedule was interrupted to heal Jairus’ daughter, shortly after, He was further interrupted by a haemorrhaging woman who also sought healing (Mark 5:21-43). An interruption within an interruption—imagine that! Yet He accomplished the Father’s will through all this. Other Bible characters were also blessed and shaped through “holy interruptions”. The Samaritan woman at the well was interrupted by Jesus, and the encounter transformed her life (John 4). And of course, Paul encountered a big disruption to his plans on the Road to Damascus, which radically transformed Him as well (Acts 9).

We also read in the Bible of negative examples of people who did not pay attention to the interruptions God had placed in their path. Notably, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan(re-enacting so well by one of the groups during the recent Family Camp Talentime), the Priest and the Levite were so fixated on their ministry that they could not bear to be interrupted to help the injured man on the road. How sad and ironic. 

In fact, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan as an illustration on loving God and neighbour(Luke 10:25-37). This tells us that “holy interruptions” are a crucial way by which God teaches us to live out the Greatest Commandment. Indeed, unexpected interruptions can cause us to love and trust God more, breaking the illusion that we are always in control. I find myself relying more upon God when things don’t go my way. Sometimes, interruptions create unplanned pockets of time for us to slow down and commune with God. When I came down with Covid in April, I really had to “letgo and let God” and that week became a time of spiritual refreshment for me. Interruptions to our
schedule can also teach us to love others more. I recall times when I have been interrupted by people in need, and how such experiences have enlarged my capacity to love, and reminded me that
ministry is based on God’s agenda, not mine. And I have been blessed in the process.

In the words of theologian Henri Nouwen: “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that my interruptions were my work.

”Brothers and sisters, whether you are facing disruptions due to the ongoing Covid wave, or otherunexpected and unwelcome interruptions in your life, would you trust God amid all these twists andturns? Let us trust that every interruption is a holy opportunity for God to break in and to re-align ourplans according to His perfect purposes.

Rev Timothy