GOD’S INTERRUPTIONS – 4TH Sunday in Advent, Year B
We probably don’t have to look too far back in our life to find our normal plans were interrupted. We can point to some events in our personal and family life we didn’t foresee.
When God interrupts our plans, it’s usually better for us and for others. David’s plans to build a permanent temple for the Lord were interrupted. “But that night the Lord spoke to Nathan and said: ‘Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Should you build me a house to dwell in?”
The Lord revealed He wanted to work another plan through David. “The Lord also reveals to you that He will establish a house for you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; you throne shall stand firm forever.” One of David’s descendants would establish God’s eternal kingdom. The Messiah Jesus was to be born of the House of David. This was a far better plan for David and for others than his own plan.
Mary’s plan to be an ordinary housewife and mother was interrupted. So was Joseph’s plan to be an ordinary husband and father. Elizabeth and Zechariah’s plans for elder hood were interrupted with the birth of John the Baptizer. All of them puzzled about these interruptions and accepted God’s plan, laying aside their own.
We can and have had this happen to us in our lives. We may be called to forego our plans when we learn God is revealing another plan for us and others. This calls for faith. God’s plans for our life are far better for ourselves and for others, even though it may not seem so at the time, than any we could come up with on our own.
David, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah could never have come up with a plan for their lives that would have been better. All of us can look back and thank the Lord some of our plans failed or simply weren’t carried out. Had they succeeded, we may not have followed the Lord’s plan, which is always far better.
As we learn from the Second Book of Samuel, King David had a plan to build a Temple for the Lord. He had been through all the battles and the work of becoming established as the King of Israel. The Tent, which had the scrolls of the Law, was a sign of the presence of the Lord with the people. King David wanted a better place for the Ark of the Covenant. “Here I am living in a house of cedar, while the Ark of God dwells in a tent!” It was a good plan, but the Lord had a better plan for him.
We may have a great plan of something we want to do for the Lord. The Lord may not want us to do our plan. Prayer and discernment may reveal God’s better plan for us. Servants expect to be interrupted, and at times to have to abandon their own plans. That’s an important less for us to learn.
Mary was open to God’s plan revealed to her by the angel Gabriel. “Upon arriving, the angel said to her: “Rejoice, O highly favored daughter! The Lord is with you…” The angel troubled Mary, who was surprised at the sudden presence of the angel. “Do not fear, Mary. You have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bear a son, and give Him the name Jesus. Great will be His dignity and He will be called Son of the Most High.”
As a Jewish girl, she learned about the coming of the Messiah. She probably didn’t expect to be His mother. She probably expected to give birth to some ordinary boys and girls. But she yielded to God’s plan after simply asking how it would be possible. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; hence, the holy offspring to be born will be called Son of God.” The Lord works His plans through willing servants. “I am the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.”
It was clear to David, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah at the time that the Lord’s plan was better or would work. They couldn’t foresee all that would follow. They lived by faith and obedience. This can be done when we are sure and confident we are following the Lord’s plan, rather than just our own. That demands prayer, listening to the Lord, and a willingness to follow God’s clearly revealed will for us!