Straight from a Discerning Heart
By Lisa Elliott
Have you ever experienced a time in your life when God interrupted your regularly scheduled program to bring you an important message? I have just come through one of those times.
My regularly scheduled program—typically full of speaking engagements, church ministry involvements, writing opportunities, and social engagements—was empty. My calendar was clear and void of any activity. Unheard of! Not only was it clear; oddly enough, several ministry opportunities were either cancelled or postponed. In other cases, I sensed the Lord’s counsel to say a gracious “No” to invitations, for no other reason than I was not supposed to say, “Yes”. Interestingly, I was even offered a break from writing this blog if I felt I needed to take one.
I have to admit that it became increasingly difficult to not take things personally. Especially when in one instance, a confirmed speaking invitation decided to go another direction—without me! On my calendar I wrote the words, “What are you up to here, Lord?” My heart was on red alert to decipher what this divine interruption was all about. It wasn’t until two months later at a week-long pastors and wives Sabbath retreat when it all began to make sense to me.
Like Elijah after his long run, I sat under the broom tree with the Lord—journal in hand—weary and exhausted, needing desperate rest for my body, mind, and soul.
This would be your cue to say, “Wait a minute, Lisa! Wasn’t your schedule clear? Why were you so exhausted?” Thanks for asking. This is where the important message comes in.
As the Lord and I reviewed the months leading up to this “divine interruption”, I was reminded of a prayerful sense that I had actually shared with a couple of others. All indicators seemed to be pointing toward my three adolescent children—in particular, my oldest daughter, Natalie who was due with our first grandchild. From the time she announced her pregnancy I sensed a deep need to avail myself to her. Not so much out of worry and certainly not to cause her alarm, but rather to assure her I would be there in a heartbeat at any point if she needed me. I would clear my schedule to get there. Oh, did I mention that I didn’t have to?
My first SOS call came a week after my daughter gave birth. She was fighting a fever which is not good for a nursing mother. I sensed God’s holy nudge to get to my daughter, much like the one I referred to in my August blog post, Straight from a Responsive Heart. After a week of caring for her and her baby, I apprehensively left. However, something still didn’t feel right. I wept my way through an hour long line-up to check my baggage and collapsed sobbing into my husband’s arms when my plane landed two hours later and was unable to get it together for the remainder of the day. I found out that she experienced the same after my departure.
A week later she was in worse shape than when I went the first time. So I immediately booked another flight to get back ASAP. My son-in-law picked me up from the airport and drove me straight to the hospital emergency where Natalie was visiting for the third time in as many weeks. Two days later she was admitted for surgery and we realized that, had it been left any longer, her infection could have easily gone septic. Having already lost a child to cancer, my mind wandered to places that I didn’t ever expect to visit again concerning one of my children. I’m happy to say that my daughter is now on the road to recovery and just as happy that I was available to be there for her.
Am I thankful that God interrupted my regularly scheduled program? You better believe I am! Am I relieved that I didn’t take matters into my own hands, blow through the stop signs, and plan out my own schedule regardless of my blank calendar? Absolutely. Did I receive the important message that the Lord had to give me? Yes, I did! Are you anxious to know what it was?
First and foremost, I was reminded to pay attention when the Lord interrupts your regularly scheduled program. I was reminded to be willing to let God be God and to allow His sovereignty to reign as I submit to His will. I, again, took note of the importance of being still and knowing that He is God. I learned afresh to trust in Him even when it doesn’t make sense. I was reminded again not to take life for granted and to live life fully in every moment, however that moment looks. Finally, but not exclusively, I experienced the joy and satisfaction that comes with knowing you’re in the centre of God’s will, doing exactly what He wants you to do, no matter if it was in your original plan or not.
So, as you go about your regularly scheduled programs, ministries, writing projects, or day to day activities, beware of interruptions. It’s often the Lord’s way of getting your attention to bring you a very important message.
Has God interrupted your regularly scheduled program? What important message is He bringing you?
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9).
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way (Psalm 37:23 NASB)
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org