Interrupted by God


“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Do you remember someone asking you that question? Maybe it was your parents, a teacher, or even someone you met for the first time. Asked during our elementary school years, we usually respond with something that has impressed us. I wanted to be a cowboy in the second grade. That developed later into the desire to be an astronaut. The dreams continued with plans to go to college and play football. A friend and I discussed attending the University of Texas, where he’d play basketball, and I’d be on the football team. Toward the end of high school, I had thought about the Naval Academy or a career in the space industry. I chose the latter and started college with a plan for aeronautical engineering. Somewhere along the line, those plans were “Interrupted by God.”

Not once did I ever have plans to enter the ministry during my years of growing up. In fact, during my early teen years, I didn’t even attend church services. However, as I look back at the decades past, I can see where God stepped in to direct my and my family’s life journey. Some would call it a coincidence, or maybe only my decision-making. However, as I examine the past events, I can see that God interrupted my plans with His.

In his book, “Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer states, “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and canceling our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions.” Those who allow God to have a say-so in their lives will find that the journey of life they plan will often have a change of destination along the way. We must prepare ourselves to allow God to interrupt us with His directions for our lives. Along the way, we’ll discover that we make good choices at times while God will give us a different path to follow at other times.

Paul had plans for his journey to visit various places to share the Gospel, but God had His plans on when this would happen. He wrote to the Romans, “I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.” Romans 1:13 (NASB) In Acts 16, Paul had plans to go to Asia and then Bithynia, but instead, God sent him to another area to preach. “They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them.” Acts 16:6-10 (NASB) Throughout Biblical history, God’s interruptions have altered many lives. Abraham, Moses, Noah, Elijah, Ruth, Rahab, Mary, and Joseph are only a few examples of those whose lives were interrupted for God to use them for better things. 

We may not understand God’s reasoning, but He always has a purpose for what he places in our lives. Halfway through my freshman year in college, I attended a class that convinced me to go into ministry. God’s plans were for us to adopt two boys, one with mental and physical issues. God’s plan was for me to be turned down for a position only to be hired by the same congregation a year later. God’s plan was for me to step out of ministry for a while and then enter into a long relationship with hundreds of people seeking Him. I’ve made mistakes along my journey, making plans without consulting God’s guidance. Sometimes I even convinced myself that they were God’s plan, only to justify what I wanted or desired. 

How do we know if our plans are what God has for us? How do we know when God interrupts us? It would be nice if God would send us a personal note giving us his instructions for our life choices, but that doesn’t happen, at least by mail. Maybe if he just emailed or texted us, we would know what He wants from us. If he spoke to us through a burning bush or a visit from an angel, it would make it easy to understand how we should continue our journey. 

So again, how do we know? We have to trust the faith we have in Him. We should pray for guidance and constantly be aware of the signs that exist around us. Signs may come in the form of a word from someone God uses to reach us or in unexpected ways. When we keep ourselves open, things can become evident in many ways that affect our judgment. We must remove ourselves from the formula and seek to hear God in the community around us. Most of all, we should never forget that God may interrupt our plans with His. His interruptions are always made with something more important in our life.

Danny Minton is a former Elder and minister at Southern Hills Church of Christ


  • As the wife of a minister, I often had questions about the journey of our marriage in ministry. As I grew older, I was able to look back over many situations and recognize God’s hand in the mix. Sometimes the interruptions were important than the original plans.


      Posted on February 4, 2023 by Loretta Fulton Leave a comment

      Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

      A weathered rancher of my acquaintance stubbornly refused to join a group of church friends who “enjoy” bad health. A woman of few words, she explained her absence from services the previous Sunday.

      “I was struck down by the flu,” she stated, leaving it at that.

      Would that our health conditions be so succinctly categorized these days. Now, there are strains, distresses, aches, pains and assorted illnesses that not only have names, but typically are reduced to abbreviations and sometimes even numbers. It’s a mistake to try to keep up; much blame is attributed to COVID.

      Dr. Don Newbury
      I surrender all, having been “stove up” since Christmas with respiratory issues that may seem minor to you and little more than that to me.

      All I know is that coughing, wheezing and congestion stretched over three weeks, and my wife’s similar symptoms hung around longer.

      We’ve generally much stayed indoors. A neighbor thinks we’ve been “struck down” by a new set of abbreviations. “Probably the RSV stuff that’s going around,” she said.

      Until lately, “RSV” was totally foreign to me. (Without the “S,” of course, “RV” seems far removed from illness, with the allure of being “on the road again.”)

      I could have left it right there, but later in the day, I spoke on the phone with my friend Paul Butler. He and his wife Virginia had endured similar symptoms, and Paul joked (I think) that they were victims of that “RSVP” disease.

      Maybe he wasn’t kidding. He may have known that “RSV” stands for “respiratory syncytial virus,” adding the “P” for Paul intentionally to personally identify with the disease.

      This set me to thinking about former terms concerning illnesses. We had “bad colds,” croup, crud, upset tummies, sprains, strains, headaches and other names that rarely exceeded two syllables, and often were just one. Abbreviations weren’t needed.

      An age-old condition remains colorful. The guy was “rode hard and put up wet,” an expression better understood by non-urban folks.

      There were other expressions in a general category, “running off at the mouth.” These were usually attributed to political figures who didn’t know when the shut up.

      Texas Governor Greg Abbott probably would like to retract his “tweet” bragging that he could kick better than Dallas Cowboy Brett Maher, who muffed five straight point-after kicks during his team’s two final games.

      The gov’s attempt at humor not only fell flat, but also offended others confined to wheelchairs.

      Maybe someone stole our leader’s identity. That could be the story he’ll stick to. Whatever, Dallas has joined Houston in having a problem.

      Now, I return to the original premise that medical ID’s are galloping ahead of us.

      In a recent Dallas Morning News edition, facing pages caught my eye. One led with a major headline, asking readers if they’ve had heart failure; the other pointed to “pacing” as the key for “long COVID.”

      I read the one about heart failure first, since I’ve had four bypasses and a mitral valve repair–and later implantation of a stent, defibrillator and pacemaker–in 1998 and 2021, respectively.

      The ad cited familiar symptoms, suggesting that I could be saddled with a condition called “ATTR-CM.” I’ll ask my cardiologist about it, since transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy–the abbreviation spelled out–sounds like something I already have.

      When I inquire, he may wax rhetorical, asking why I’m blinking incessantly. If he does, I’ll urge him to relax and take a few deep breaths, informing him that my blinking serves only to signify my disbelief about “long COVID.” I didn’t even know the disease can be measured.

      Returning home, I’ll mull over prescribed medications and whether my exercise regimen is “set” on the lowest possible bar. Maybe I’ll reconstruct the old joke about a guy undergoing sedation prior to surgery. “This makes you feel like you do when you’re drunk,” he said. “I wouldn’t know,” the anesthesiologist replied. “I’ve never had anesthesia.”

      Dr. Newbury was a longtime university president who continues to write weekly and speak regularly throughout Texas. Phone: 817-447-3872. Email:


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