Oh, how mysterious is God? But oh, how reliable the Lord also is.
On a recent day, a day of supposed holiday merriment, I felt inundated with jobs, tasks, interactions, so-called pressing demands. It may have only been six or seven, but it was enough to draw me away from my sole responsibility of caring for my son, with my wife at work.
There were three email conversations, WhatsApp messages, some Messenger interactions, a sermon to prepare and read up on, along with the household chores to do. The nature of interruptions is it doesn’t take too much, just a couple of awkwardly timed interactions or tasks, to derail plans hatched with good intent.
Interruptions create busyness,
but God interrupts busyness with creativity.
All the while that I’m fielding all these interruptions, getting stressed into the bargain, I’m vaguely aware that my five-year-old son is craving my attention. He seems so unreasonable in doing this. Like a five-year-old! Like a child who wants and deserves his Daddy. Like a boy who wants to share with his father the wonder of playing with mud.
Then God speaks. ‘Put the phone down.’ ‘Go outside.’ ‘Now!’
‘Okay, Lord, if you say so… ‘ It wasn’t in me to do it under my own steam, but God impelled me out of the house at the beckoning of my son…
‘Dad, come and build with me… make mud with me.’
In my mind are all these priorities, needs, and desires in me to manage them now as they come in. Yes, I’ve done all the time management training courses that tell me not to do this, but…
… no buts… no if’s, no buts.
So, I walk, twenty percent against my own will, but at least I’m walking.
When I arrive not ten metres from the side door, I see what he’s arranged.
He has a whole construction site arranged with six ‘machines’ ready to do the grunt work of carting dirt and material for his building. All the machines are lined up ready for duty. It’s all set, the planning and scheduling has been done, but there’s one vital labour source that’s tarried – Dad!
He proceeds to describe to me the older machine that he’s pretty fond of, and he also shows off the newer, bigger machines. Pretty quickly I arrive at an understanding of my role in the ‘building’. I turn the water on and off, so the dirt can be turned into a slurry we’re calling ‘mud’. He arranges his machines so they can receive their payloads of dirt, with all dirt ending up in the hopper (a.k.a. wheelbarrow).
And God is compelling as He shows me His peace in allowing myself to become absorbed in my son’s world.
God will interrupt our busyness if we’re listening. Truly, if we’re attentive to our frustrations we’ll see that God is reminding us not simply via his still, small voice, but the Holy Spirit is bellowing through the rising anger of our disobedience.
The moments of obedience, when we spend time with our children and families, are often fleeting in this life, but they’re moments we’ll never regret. Managing life’s tasks and demands, however, though they seem imperative, will cause us to rue our lost opportunities with our kin.