A few weeks ago, I spent a night in a hotel in Dundee. While I was there I found myself looking at the little cardboard sign they give you to hang on the door of your room if you want to be left in peace. Do not disturb. Certainly, I hoped for a restful night – I had to be up early the next day, and it’s nice not be disturbed during the night, but it got me thinking. It seems to me that a lot of us these days seem to go through life with Do Not Disturb signs on all the time. A lot of people don’t like to hear about bad things which have happened, they don’t want to watch stories on the news which scare them or think about things which make them uncomfortable. I know a lot of people who will gladly talk for hours about pop stars and footballers, but the minute you start discussing more serious topics, BANG! The door slams shut, and up goes the sign – Do Not Disturb
Now, I understand this, and it makes perfect sense, we’d all prefer to live in a world where bad things didn’t happen and people didn’t get hurt, but we don’t. Switching off the TV when it shows pictures of earthquakes in Haiti or war in the middle east doesn’t mean it stops happening. Refusing to think about something won’t stop it from being real. Sometimes we have to deal with the unpleasant, disturbing stuff and do something about it.
Switching off the TV .... doesn’t mean it stops happening
Often, when something makes us feel uncomfortable it is because we know something is wrong. When we see people suffering – whether it is because of natural disasters, bullying at school, illness or whatever it disturbs us because we know it is wrong. When we find ourselves in a bad situation, it disturbs us because we know we shouldn’t be there. But we can’t fix it by pretending it isn’t there. What good is a doctor if when they are faced with a disease they say Do Not Disturb! I don’t want to think about it! Or a fireman who finds the thought of someone’s house burning down that he stays in the fire station watching TV rather than go out and deal with it.
Refusing to think about something won’t stop it from being real.
Worse still, what if the thing which disturbs us is something we need to know to protect ourselves? What if you were about to step in to a room with no floor? Or be hit by a truck? When people tried to warn you would you say No, I don’t want to hear about it! Do Not Disturb!
Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? So how come that is how so many people react when you try to talk to them about the things of God? So often when the topic of our sin comes up, SLAM! Do Not Disturb! When you mention God or Jesus, CLANG! Do Not Disturb! And even for those who will talk about Jesus, bring up the cross and it’s CRUNCH! DO NOT DISTURB!
When Jesus came to earth, he didn’t greet the poor and the sick and the hurting with a big Do Not Disturb sign. He let himself be disturbed by their predicament, and he helped them. Not only that, but when people tried to respond to his teaching with a Do Not Disturb, he didn’t let that stop him. He stirred things up, he disturbed the priests, the authorities and all those people who like to pretend they were just fine, thank you! He persisted in asking them awkward questions, telling them painful truths and bringing them up close to things which disturbed them. In the end, he disturbed them so much they crucified him.
I’m disturbed LORD, fix it for me!
If we let Jesus in to our lives, he will disturb us too. We may have to think about the wrong things we’ve done. We might need to question some of the things we believe. We might have to speak up and challenge things we know to be wrong, even though we’d prefer to pretend we can’t see them. We will almost certainly have to make some changes in the way we live, but in the end, it’s for the best. Far better to know what is wrong and how to fix it than to walk on with our eyes shut and our fingers in our ears shouting Everything’s fine! Only when we acknowledge what disturbs us and ask Jesus to deal with it can we really have peace. So what is your response to his challenges? Do you say Go away, I’m fine, DO NOT DISTURB! Or do you say, I’m disturbed LORD, fix it for me!