The power of taking a pause
Published 10:09 am Thursday, September 21, 2023
According to the dictionary, a pause is a temporary stop in action or speech. We live life in the fast lane, and most days we fail to pause. I would like to introduce you to the word “Selah.” Psalms Chapter 3:1-8 states, “1(A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.) LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. 3But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. 4I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. 5I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. 7Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.” David speaks of the power of God and then declares a Selah.
Selah occurs 74 times in the Bible. It occurs 71 times in the Psalms and three times in Habakkuk. It is found in the poetical books of the Old Testament. You may be wondering what this small word means. It has great meaning. Scholars suggest that this poetic term was peppered throughout the Psalms as a reminder to pause, contemplate, ruminate and praise. Selah is an invitation to pause in the presence of God and to praise Him. It is necessary for our souls to take a Selah.
We begin with the pause itself. We make the decision to slow down and to let go of whatever it is that is driving us and to listen. I live at a fast pace. I always have, and I am starting to fully understand the importance of a pause. It is easy to get worn down and our joy begins to deplete. I am constantly aware of the long list of pressing needs which demand my attention. They howl and scream as I lay them aside. Pausing is not natural and nor is it easy for me, but I know that it is important. As we pause, we discover His presence and rejuvenate our souls.
There are moments when we all need to hit the pause button. Life races on and, if we are not intentional and careful, we lose the joy and purpose of it all. Yes, sometimes you just need to pause. So much noise. Too many appointments. We overcommit ourselves to others and undervalue the health of our own souls. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The same Holy Spirit who came as a mighty rushing wind also brings the gentle breeze. You do not always have to hurry to get things done. Sometimes God is doing most in us when we are not in a hurry at all. The pause does not mean simply “doing nothing” or filling the hours with entertainment and recreation. The pause should have a purpose. Pause to ponder. Pause to pray. Pause to praise. Pause to plan. Pause to prioritize. There is no “stop” button for life, and it will go on until God says that it is finished. You cannot rewind to yesterday – it is over. It is impossible to fast forward to tomorrow – that is in God’s knowledge alone. But you can pause.
Jesus took a pause and encouraged his disciples to do the same. Here are 6 Reasons Jesus Chose to Pause.
1. To prepare for a major task Luke 4:1-2, 14-15. After Jesus was baptized He spent 40 days praying in the wilderness. After this He was tempted by Satan and then began His public ministry.
2. To recharge after hard work Mark 6:30-32. Jesus sent the 12 disciples out to do ministry. When they returned He encouraged them to separate from the people who were following them to rest.
3. To work through grief Matthew 14:1-13. After Jesus learned that his cousin John the Baptist had been beheaded, He went away by Himself. Yes, even the Son of God grieves.
4. Before making an important decision Luke 6:12-13. Early in His ministry Jesus spent the whole night alone in prayer. The next day He chose his 12 disciples.
5. In a time of distress Luke 22:39-44. Hours before Jesus was arrested He went to the Mt. of Olives and went a short distance away from His disciples to pray. He was in great emotional agony knowing what he was about to face.
6. To focus on prayer Luke 5:16. Many times in Jesus’ ministry He spent time alone in prayer.
I pray you see the importance of taking a moment in your life to pause, stand in His presence, and to praise His Name!