The Grace of Divine Disturbances

Disturbances can be quite annoying, from your neighbor’s noisy celebration that carries on long after midnight to that phone call right as you are sitting down for dinner—from an insistent telemarketer trying to sell you something.  I’m sure you can think of dozens of disturbances that disrupt your life.  So how is it possible to find grace in the disturbances of life?  When they are divine disturbances! 

Divine disturbances direct us to the power of the Gospel.  Divine disturbances are never delivered to the people of God as punishment; God is not exacting His proverbial “pound of flesh” because we have been disobedient.  Divine disturbances are always designed to drive the roots deeper into the soil of the sanctified life for two reasons:

1. Deliverance – God is in the business of delivering divine disturbances to His people to deliver them from themselves.  The goal here is to be able to echo John the Baptist: “I must decrease and He must increase.”    

2. Dependence – Divine disturbances are designed to deepen our dependence on God.  Disturbances demonstrate just how little control we actually have in life.  The goal here is to be able to say, as Jesus did in speaking of the Father, “I can do nothing on my own.”

Moses paints a wonderful picture of a divine disturbance in Deuteronomy 32:11-12.

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the Lord alone guided [Jacob], no foreign god was with him.

The adult eagle knows what’s best for its young.  If left to themselves, the eaglets would forever cling to the nest, waiting for their next meal and never venturing out to fully realize their God-given potential.  You see, eagles were meant to soar the skies . . . not squat in nests.  So the parent eagle delivers a disturbance by driving the eaglets from the nest to begin living the life they were created for.

And so it is with our loving God.  His divine disturbances are designed to drive us out of whatever comfortable nest we are squatting in—whatever is keeping us from maximizing our potential and living in His perfect plan and purpose for our lives.  God uprooted Abraham when He commanded him to leave his home and go to a foreign land in order to be the father of a great nation.  God turned Joseph’s life upside-down when He delivered him into a pit and a prison on the way to the palace in order to save God’s people during the famine.  God plunged Jonah into the depths when He appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah . . . and three days later spit him out on the shore so that Jonah would fulfill his destiny as a preacher to the Ninevites.  God shattered Mary’s comfortable existence when He chose her to be the mother His only begotten Son before she was married.  God knocked Saul to the ground when He blinded him on the road to Damascus before restoring his sight, renaming him Paul, and transforming him from persecutor of the church to pastor of the church.  

Left to ourselves, we all naturally seek the path of least resistance.  We will go to great lengths to live our lives within our self-imposed confines of comfort and convenience, regardless of the cost.  And to be sure, the cost is great!  We forfeit the grace that is ours, as Jonah proclaimed: 

Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.  (Jonah 2:8)

The idols of comfort and convenience are two implacable enemies of the Christian faith.  When we hold on to them more tightly than we do Christ, we forfeit the fullness and richness of the life grace calls us to live.

Take a moment right now to inventory your life.  Perhaps God has ordained a divine disturbance to drive you out of your fluffy nest and into His best for your life. 

This is the Gospel.  This is grace for your race.  NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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