Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Whale of an Interruption and for Sharon Joy!

Don't you just hate being interrupted? You are in the middle of a story or task or concentrating on completing an assignment, and you are interrupted. One Bible study mother shared how she realized every time she sat down to study the Bible one of her four boys would interrupt her. At first, she would sweetly say, "No now, Mommy's studying the Bible." By the umpteenth time, she found herself shouting, "NOT NOW! CAN'T YOU SEE I'M TRYING TO READ GOD'S WORD!" While we laughed as she worried about the impression her little ones would have about reading the Bible and what it does to a person, we truly understood the irritation of being interrupted.

This weekend, I attended the simulcast of Bible teacher, Priscilla Shirer, about life's interruptions and how we respond to them as Christians. It was convicting and insightful. Some of you have had major interruptions, painful ones: cancer, loss of a loved one, becoming a caregiver, loss of job, divorce, and more. Life's path today is not what you envisioned five months ago, five years ago. I am writing to tell you, no matter what the interruption, God is your Refuge, your Strength, and He loves you with a jealous love. He will see you through this and your interruption will turn into a divine intervention if you let it. One blog reader shared her faith and battle with cancer recently, Sharon Joy. God has put her on my heart. I ask she be on yours as well.

Sharon, today's blog is for you. Thank you for your post the other day. I am sharing this for you because of your reference to Hezekiah when you asked for 15 more years as you battle cancer and wait for your answer from God.

Ironically (or really Godronically)I heard part of a message while driving in the car about Hezekiah BEFORE I saw your post. It grabbed my interest so much that I started searching last night for the Biblical reference and story. This morning, when you talked about it, I felt I just needed to share this. Perhaps it will encourage you as you cling to God and use Him as your refuge.

Before I forget to tell you, I am praying for you and God's will be manifested in your journey and I am binding Satan from trying to interrupt or interfere with God's plans for you.

Here goes: The story in Isaiah 37:16; before the prayer to which you refer about extending his life, Hezekiah received bad, bad news, a letter from the king of Assyria telling Hezekiah how he was going to destroy Hezekiah and all his people. The king of Assyria, as you know, had a reputation (like cancer) of destroying countries completely.

What did Hezekiah do? Did he panic like I would have and often have done with bad news, with news of something far out of my control? No. I love what He did.

Read it with me Sharon Joy: "Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekia prayed to the Lord: O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earthy. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the Living God. It is true, O Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods in to the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LOrd, are God."

Sharon, take your test results and just spread them out before God. Just kneel down in your kitchen, living room, bedroom and fan out the test results like Hezekiah did with that letter from the evil king. Give it to God, again. I know if you have done this already, God must be so very pleased. Pray God's Word over these results. Meditate on His Word daily as well.

What did God do? That is the best part of the picture isn't it, Sharon Joy? "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, this is the word the Lord has spoken against him:..."But I know where you (the evil king) stay and when you come and go and how you rage against me. Because you rage against me and because your insolence has reached my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth and I will make you return the way you came....I will defend this city and save it, for my sake and for the sake of David, my servant." (God knows the source of cancer. He can put His hook in it and bit in it and remove it from your body.)

Then what happened? While Hezakiah and his people stayed inside the walls, "Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning--there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there." Later this evil king's own sons cut him down as he worshiped his idols in his temple. (I find it so sad that this evil king and his people saw the living God and STILL turned back to their own idols of worship. What a different story for them if they had turned their interruption of conquering others into recognizing the Living God and worshiping Him instead! What arrogance he must have had!)

In the end, Hezakiah saw first hand the protection and refuge of God for His people. Your life has been interrupted, as Priscilla Shirer, calls it. Ironically, or again, Godronically, Ninevah, where the evil king returned, is where Jonah was called to witness, where Jonah's own life was interrupted and when Jonah had to face being swallowed by a whale before getting on the track God planned for him. Talk about major interruptions! Jonah tried running from God's call and interruption. Jonah didn't have a chance. God wanted Jonah's attention and wanted to intervene in not only his life, but in the life of the evil Ninevahns.

"Great interruptions can become divine interventions if we submit," says Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer. I see that in hindsight. When caring for my parents and witnessing their struggles and pain, I did not see it as an intervention. I often saw it as an interruption. Why this struggle? Why this painful path? On the other side, I understand more about it than I did then, not all of it still, but definitely more. It is hard to see interruptions as interventions when in the middle of it, isn't it?

Anyway, Sharon Joy, this blog is to encourage you because of your reference to Hezekiah: spread your pain and bad news before the Lord,take this interruption in your life and let God's glory shine through it and see God's divine intervention and submit to His control and plan. I do not say this lightly. I do not have cancer. I can not even imagine your pain, your fear, your path. That is between you and the Living God who loves you.

...But for some reason, I must share this portion of Scripture with you. For some reason, I must obey and write about it. Perhaps it isn't for you, but rather for someone else reading this, or even for me for my own preparation for the future.

No matter the reason, I submit to God and give this to Him.... In the meantime, I call on all Sisters in Christ reading this to stop and lift Sharon Joy to God, asking for His healing and will to be accomplished in her life.

For His Glory,


  1. Dear Gretchen, Thank you so much! I actually did spread my test tesults out before the altar in church a couple years ago when things were scary.

    My cancer is under better control now, but i am facing a huge challenge as my 19-year-old daughter battles bipolar disorder for the first time. She is coming out of a disruptive manic stage that has lasted 5 weeks. She was a student at Biola University in LaMirada, California, studying Intercultural Studies in order to be a missionary. I wonder what God wants for her now. Is He going to totally change her path to do something else? Or will He make her well enough to go to the mission field with this disorder? We will be waiting years for the answer to that one. Part of the problem is that doctors are not sure if it is just bipolar; she may have schizophrenia, also. What you are teaching is just like what our pastor is teaching that "Rejection can Change Your Direction."

    Thank you for your love,

  2. Sharon, Oh, how my heart hurts on that news! You are truly in a battle. I will lift your daughter up as well before the throne. God loves her as you know already. Keep me posted on both of you as you are now in my prayers.

  3. Dear Gretchen, Today a woman at church told me that my daughter's situation is for the glory of God. I believe that is true; she went through a rigorous surgery when she was 14 that glorified God. It makes me wonder what kind of an amazing ministry my daughter will have that she faces down these situations at such a tender age.
    God bless you. Sharon