The blaring “BEEP” from my alarm clock jolted me awake. Resisting the urge to hit snooze as usual, I reached over and put an end to its annoying noise. Slowly I moved out of my husbands' arms and crawled out of bed, slid my feet into my favorite pair of slippers, and quietly walked into the living room with plans for some quiet time with the Lord before the rest of the house woke up.
That is not what happened.
I no sooner had sat down with a cup of coffee when my youngest daughter tip toed into the living room, a mischievous smile on her little round face. Not far behind her was her big sister. Then their older brother. Shortly after that my husband appeared from the bedroom. Agitation gnawed at me. While I love my husband and children fiercely, I found myself fighting the urge to be irritated by all the disruptions. This was supposed to be my undistracted, private, quiet time with the Lord and now I was hearing clanking in the kitchen and little voice bickering. My attitude started to shift and I began to grumble. My heart revealed itself more and more as my posture turned from worship to whining.
The Purpose of Time With God
Quietness is a rare commodity in life, especially when there are children around. It is difficult to focus on anything when little people are noisily running through the house. It is hard to stay undistracted when the endless demands of motherhood and marriage are right in front of your face. After I had blurted unnecessary words of irritation about the quiet time I did not get, the Holy Spirit began to nudge my disgruntled heart. Soon I was full to the brim of regret and embarrassment. I had lashed out at my family because I couldn't spend time reading words of love and grace in my Bible. How hypocritical. Ashamed, I went and hid myself in the bathroom to search my soul.
Why had I wanted to spend time alone in the Word this morning? To check a box? Or so I could better love and serve my family?
Was I truly panting for living water or was I rushing to gulp down a quick fix so I would feel better about myself? Time in God's Word is necessary. It is of extreme importance. But there will be days when our quiet time will look different from what we want it to be and we cannot think for a minute that God is not aware. Disruptions are not moments that slipped through the cracks of God's control. Our interruptions do not interrupt God's plans at all. Each and every one can be used by God to reveal our own need and lead us to the place of true delight. That morning, my greatest need wasn't a quiet hour reading the Word, my biggest need was for God to expose an area in my life in which I needed His grace. The disruptions unearthed sin habits that needed to be replaced with repentance. I had allowed my family's interruptions to control me when I should have practiced self-control, gentleness, and patience (see Galatians 5:22-23). God wanted me to see my own heart and He graciously opened my eyes so I could. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the disruptions were gifts of grace.
The Three R's of Delighting in God's Word
Devotion to Christ and His Word is not limited to a specific length of time nor is it reduced to a copy and paste of so-and-so's quiet time. Quality time with the Lord is the constant cycle of recognition, repentance and rejoicing.
Whether we are sitting in our recliner sipping coffee with our Bible or chaotically trying to shove our children out the door for school; whether we are quietly studying or scrambling to get dinner in the oven, when we are kindly given the ability to recognize our sin, it should immediately lead to our confession and repentance before God. His merciful forgiveness should then cause us to rejoice. Disciplining ourselves this way can turn our whining into worshipping. It can reset us as we serve and as we love. Disruptions are going to happen, but we can join God in the work of redeeming the disruptions by delighting in the sanctifying work He is trying to accomplish in them.
And those moments are important.
For further study: Psalm 34:14; Proverbs 14:29; Proverbs 16:24; Ecclesiastes 7:9; Ephesians 4:26-27; Philippians 4:5; Colossians 3:12; James 1; 19-26; James 4:1-2