When Ministry Is Interrupted…

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Mary, did you ever wonder if it was all real?

The angel appearing with his unbelievable message; the shepherds, barely able to contain their excitement, rushing in to see the baby and spouting a garbled story of more angels singing in the sky; the wise men travelling miles to see with their unusual selection of gifts; Simeon and Anna holding the baby, praising God for the fulfilment of his promises and celebrating that, at last, the Messiah was here.

When the flurry of excitement was over, when Herod’s decree forced you to flee to Egypt, when your focus turned to protecting your precious child and keeping him alive, did you ever start to wonder if it had all been a dream?

And did you ever question why?

Did it seem to you that God’s plan had been interrupted… or even destroyed?

How did you hold it in tension – that you had seen God at work in ways you had never imagined, that you knew what had been birthed was unquestionably from him, but at the same time the harsh reality of the present made no sense?

As the child grew in obscurity, did you ever wonder if God still had a plan?

I don’t know how it all felt, but I can’t begin to tell you how much your story encourages me today, because, on a much smaller scale, I relate.

I know what it’s like to receive a challenging and unexpected call to be part of what God is doing.

I’ve experienced the joy of seeing God start something exciting and new, of witnessing him at work in amazing ways, including ways that no-one else has seen and that in some cases I can’t even share.

And now I’ve known the disappointment of seeing it interrupted, and I’ve struggled.

Why would God start something so good, that was birthed in so much prayer, only for this to happen?  Was he really in it?  Was I foolish to think he could use me?

Why did he let me catch a glimpse of what he could do, only for it to be snatched away?

I don’t have any answers, but your story encourages me that he does have a plan, that he finishes what he starts.  I don’t know when or how, but I know that he will.

His ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts, but he will bring his plan to fruition.

Thank you for your example – for believing that nothing was impossible, for surrendering to God’s plan, and for never giving up even when it got hard.  Thank you for teaching me how to wait well.

“Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.”  (Luke 2:19 NLT)

“His mother stored all these things in her heart.”  (Luke 2:51 NLT)

You encourage me to hold onto what I’ve seen – never to forget, but to store these things in my heart – and to allow what I’ve seen to give me hope.  I suspect that throughout those quiet years, you were the only one who truly saw, and I believe you knew there was more to come, even if you weren’t quite sure what that “more” would look like.  I think you knew that God’s plan hadn’t been derailed but that he would fulfil his purpose.

Thank you for helping me to trust the same.

Inspire Me Monday

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25 thoughts on “When Ministry Is Interrupted…

  1. I’ve never thought about Mary’s wonderings during Jesus’s growing up years. Things started with a bang, but then she must have been puzzled at the long lead up to his ministry.
    I think we’re all struggling with disappointment and delay during this season. And we wonder what God is up to. We certainly know that he’s never passive!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t thought about it before either, but it definitely encouraged me to be reminded that God is still working out his plan even when it looks to us like it has all gone wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks so much for these thoughts. This is an aspect of Mary’s life we don’t often think about. After so much going on at the beginning, there were 30 long years before Jesus started ministering publicly. And the latter part of that probably didn’t turn out as she had been thinking it might.

    Our church has been reading through the major prophets and just started the minor one. Though they all contained conviction and judgement, they also held out hope for future restoration. For many of them, the fulfillment of what they shared was years in the future, even past their lifetimes.

    Sometimes when someone full of zeal and promise dies young, I often wonder why. Several well-known missionaries of past decades died before they were 30. They seemed like they would be so good for God’s kingdom–why would He take them home before they hardly got started? I don’t know. But I am encouraged by them and Mary and the prophets and others to just be faithful where He has me. We can’t help but wonder at His ways sometimes, but we can trust His love and character.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Barbara! Yes, a lot of things don’t make sense from our human perspective. It is encouraging to remember that God is still working out his plan and that we can trust in his goodness and faithfulness even when we don’t understand what he is doing.

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  3. God’s ways are a mystery to us at times, Lesley. We must trust and have faith. His will IS done. I am so sorry to read about you dealing with disappointment. I know God is using you for good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry you’re going through this right now, Lesley. I’d never thought about those thirty years that Mary must have wondered. Thank you for reminding me that God’s plans are not linear and binary. He can accomplish his will so many different ways and his timing may seem different than ours.

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    1. Thanks, Anita! I had never thought about that part of Mary’s story until now either. It’s encouraging that God will accomplish his plan even if that looks different from what we expect.

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  5. It’s great to look to Mary as an example for ministry interrupted. This perspective helps me too, Lesley! I hadn’t thought of her in that way.

    “I don’t have any answers, but your story encourages me that he does have a plan, that he finishes what he starts. I don’t know when or how, but I know that he will.” Yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Lesley … I LOVE this. The verse about Mary pondering things in her heart has been on my mind the last day or so, and then to read it again here–along with your other poignant thoughts–was such a blessing. “He will bring His plan to fruition.” Amen, friend.

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  7. Beautiful sentiments that are beautifully written. Thank you so much for these encouraging words that even when our ministry work is interrupted, God has a perfect plan and those plans can never be thwarted.

    Blessings,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lesley, thank you for this beautiful post. Mary is one of the quiet heroines in the Bible. I love your reminder that, though we don’t always (often) understand the ways of God, we can’t always see the why’s behind what He allows, we can be assured that He is working and He is bringing His plan to fruition.

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  9. Lesley,
    He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. God does and will fulfill His promises. It may not be in a timeline that makes sense to us and it may be filled with interruptions, but He will complete it. Ii wonder too…I think I’ve heard God’s calling only to then have doors close and I wonder why? Joining with you in trusting even when it doesn’t make sense.
    Blessings,,
    Bev xx

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  10. Remember the rests in the musical composition Lesley everything has its perfect timing, it’s His sonata we’re in & there are always three main segments to a sonata; an exposition (idea or calling), a development (enacting of the calling/ministry) & a recapitulation (a reinstating of the calling & ministry).

    The third is yet to come in your sonata, the recapitulation 😉
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

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  11. Lesley, for sure. Our plans have been turned upside down, inside out. We’ve been disappointed, rattled, and left wondering what’s next.

    May He prosper each and every ministry that was born from His hands, His heart. Even if it ends up looking completely different than we had dreamed.

    Bless you, friend …

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  12. Never give up even though it gets hard. I’ve been guilty of that, but God’s grace….oh so thankful. Beautiful post of the reminder that His plans are always good even when we just don’t get what is going on! Because He is a good, good Father.

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  13. I am standing with you wondering and questioning even if it is not for the same reasons. Mary’s story is such a great one to use as we live in this interrupted time. I can’t imagine what you are feeling as you live in this space of not knowing what God has in store. I am praying that your future plans are even better than you imagine.

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  14. And thank you, my friend, for helping me trust the same through this post. This was profound in this time of interruption, pausing, and waiting. Praise God He will see His will done, and that there is much to treasure in our hearts during the obscure days.

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