In Luke there’s this story about Jesus. Okay, there are lots of stories about Jesus, but there’s this one where he has just crossed the lake and a crowd greets him. A synagogue leader (Jairus) asks him to come and help his dying daughter. So Jesus sets out for his house, accompanied by this crowd.
As they are headed to do what Jesus is planning to do, another woman wanting help slips up behind him and touches his clothes, hoping that if she can just touch him, she will be healed. And she is.
Jesus somehow knows power has gone out from him and stops on this important errand to talk to the distressed woman. While he is talking, the dying daughter dies. (You can read the whole story in Luke 8:40-56, Mark 5:21-43, or Matthew 9:16-26.)
There are so many remarkable things about this story, but the one that has gripped my heart lately is that Jesus had time. He had time for the interruption. He not only knew power had gone out from him, he also knew he needed to stop and let God get the glory in that moment. Even if it meant his “plans for the day” were interrupted. And certainly his immediate intentions carried an air of urgency: a life was hanging in the balance!
I am not sure I respond to God’s interruptions of my intentions with that kind of grace. Maybe not with any grace at all.
Several days ago we had a candy incident. Molten lava (a.k.a. 250 degree milk and sugar) oozed onto the cooktop and into the gas flame. (Pro Tip: when making candy, always select a pan with at least three times the volume of your cooled ingredients.) We quickly turned off the fire and waited for the liquid to cool before cleaning, which turned out to be the next morning.
So, the next morning, in the midst of cleaning the cooktop, one of my children erupted like the sugary lava in a tirade of rebellion and defiance. As I looked at the mess on the cooktop and thought about my plans to get it cleaned before school so we could cook lunch, I banished my child to my room to wait for me as I shouted, “I do NOT have time for this today!”
Something in my heart started to prickle at this point and I thought, “What do you have time for, if not this?” But I shoved the thought out of my mind with the same vigor I was using to scrub the burner, finished my task, dealt with my child (probable ineffectively), and struggled to get us back on track for the rest of the day.
Fast forward two days. One of my kids was struggling to get school work completed on schedule and I heard him/her exclaim, “I do NOT have time for this!”
And that’s when it hit me.
My exclamations of, “I do NOT have time for this!” foster an environment of schedule worship, not God worship.
What am I really saying?
I do not have time…
to train my children in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.
to care for the things God has put in my hands as instruments to bless others.
to develop character in my kids rather than instruct them on characters in a story.
to sit at the feet of Jesus with a hurting friend and plead for him to intervene.
to obey him in the unnoticed moments of my days.
to extend grace, and healing, and strength.
to receive grace, and healing, and courage.
I don’t have time for this, because I need to clean a cooktop, or get groceries, or do school, or fold laundry, or prepare a Bible study lesson…
Part of the amazing thing about the story of Jesus and Jairus’ daughter and the bleeding woman is that Jesus wasn’t set on his plan to heal Jairus’ daughter with such intensity that he couldn’t stop to give what was needed in the moment to a hurting woman.
If I had been in Jesus’ sandals, I wouldn’t have given that emission of power a second thought. It would’ve been like, “Power went out? Great! I’m multitasking!”
Jesus is more like, “Hey! What is God doing here in this individual who is uniquely made in his image, has been suffering for years, and now needs my full attention so that she (and everyone else who is here or will read about this for the next 2,000-3,000 years) can see that the God of the universe has time for her and cares for her?”
His approach is a little bit different than my desire for my schedule to continue at my pace in my timing so my well-educated children make me look good.
Where is God in all that?
So I am making a concerted effort to recognize I have time for everything God has put into my day – whether it’s milky, sugary lava oozing out on my cooktop that witnesses to the sweetness of the child who wants to bless his family or a violent eruption of disobedience that screams for my discernment and wisdom to form godly character as the lava cools. Maybe it’s a delay in traffic or an inconveniently-timed-but-needed conversation with a desperately hurting friend. Or maybe it is the laundry, the cooktop, and the groceries. Bottom line: I have time to look into my child’s eyes instead of the calendar.
Sure there are days where a life is literally at risk, but more often it is the Life (John 14:6) hanging in the balance. And really, what do I have time for, if not Life?