Interruptions and Expectations

My brother and his wife have had an encounter with the Great Interrupter. Perhaps you have had one of these – when your life is going along without significant change, but there’s a bit of restlessness and wonder that hits you time to time. And then in a slow but steady encounter with the Great Interrupter, you realize that your life is being interrupted.

In their case the encounter has put them in a place of selling a home of over 15 years, leaving a church of the same, leaving a community where they have loved hard, and been loved back, and leaving the only home their children remember. They are embarking on a mid-life journey to begin a life in the Middle East. Who needs a mid-life crisis when the Great Interrupter is in your life?

It is an encouragement and challenge to be a spectator of this interruption. There are the myriad of details that boggle the mind and include everything from the first announcement made to friends and colleagues to changing lights so that the bathroom will be more acceptable for the Realtor. Details that include sorting through their children’s elementary school papers and art projects, dusty from their home in the attic, to giving away furniture.

There is the giving up of a cat to their newly married daughter, knowing that no more will Shasta watch them from her perch on the chair or window. And the lasts…the last Thanksgiving in this particular house, the last Christmas, the last …. just fill in the blank. How I hate “lasts”. The finality puts a nervous pit in the stomach.  But in all this the interruptions continue and the Great Interrupter continues to guide, and push, and remind that none of this is possible without His guidance and great love.

Throughout history God has interrupted people’s lives, moving them from comfort to the unknown and asking them to trust along the way. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and more are in the ranks of those whose lives were interrupted and who walked in faith. They lived in a world without cell phones, email, Facebook, Twitter, and Kodak photos online. They didn’t even have the pony express. Leaving and saying good-bye was final.

There is a quiet trust that sustains them and reminds me and other observers that when God as the Great Interrupter is involved, although it may not make sense to some,  you are in a safety zone of sorts and your soul can rest in this knowledge. With great interruption comes great expectation.

Have you encountered God as the Great Interrupter? What is the story of your interruptions and what did you feel and think as you went through them? Would love to hear your story through the comments!

Bloggers Note: Check out the organization that my brother and sister-in-law will be involved with called The Institute for the Study of Religion in the Middle East. (ISRME) This innovative institute has an aim to “encourage scholarship, academic collaboration and awareness of the diversity of religious life in the Middle East, and the ideas, belief systems, rituals, histories and social structures of religious communities.” This is the first of its kind and an exciting venture.

10 thoughts on “Interruptions and Expectations

  1. I wanted to comment more on the expectations aspect. In a journaling book, “Journaling as a Spiritual Practice” by Helen Cepero I’ve been pondering this quote for the past week. Maybe you can pass it along to your brother as they anticipate what the future might hold. Quote: “Understanding the difference between hope and expectation is critical if we are to allow our future to be shaped by God. Hope longs for good but is able to be flixible about how that good might appear. Expectation grasps at solutions and becomes easily attached to outcomes. When we are hopeful, our imagination and creativity flourish. But when we are locked in expectations, it is easy to turn our picture of possible future into an idol.”

    As we meet the great interrupter I think our response to the interruption is determined by our choice of hope or expectation as defined above.


    1. This is good stuff Ruthie. I was just reading a part in Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts that addressed this. I wonder if it’s semantics – thinking of the meaning of expectation through our current cultural context and problem with the expectations we put on all of life. It strikes me as a Biblical perspective of expectation may be more of a hope in His character and that will not disappoint. A lot to think about – will definitely pass it on and I love the quote above.


  2. Think how dull life would be without some interruptions! Without change how would we ever know our full potential? Some of the most monumental changes (and really scary ones!!) in my life have brought some of the greatest blessings. When we stop changing and growing, we just exist. Interruptions will not slay us, but our attitudes might put us in jeopardy. Too many seniors, I’m one you know, are “fixed” in their ways and change does not come easily. Aware that at this time in my life interruptions are constant I am trying to adapt. God does not change! Thanks Marilyn for keeping us on our toes.


  3. The ISRME looks interesting. A good initiative, I hope it will succeed in promoting peace between people by spreading understanding.
    I wish your brother and his wife all the success in this venture. I am almost tempted to join :)

    As for changes and interruptions………………. too many to recount here


    1. Pari – I will not let you out that easily – just give us one interruption!! Please! The ISRME is an exciting venture. It is geared towards scholars which I think is a good thing.


  4. When younger I used to look forward to interruptions until interruptions were so exhausting and life-changing that my desire for any interruptions waned. In retrospect, I have to admit that some of the most exhausting and life-changing interruptions also resulted in major personal growth. God’s interruptions are enabling us to grow in multi-faceted ways.


    1. Really well said Petra. It’s true that they can be so exhausting that sometimes you want to scream “Stop this bus! I want to get off!” I felt that as we moved from Phoenix. We left warmth and sunlight and 2 feet of snow awaited us and so many unknowns. It has been a tremendous interruption despite the initial trauma. And as you say, a multi-faceted God continues to grow us in multi-faceted ways!


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