He spoke of how his life seemed to have reached an imperfect cadence. Things were not complete, but it was as if everything was in a collective pause; like all areas at once were taking a breath before completing the song. And as he spoke, I sat nodding in agreement. It was a completely familiar concept he was talking about, for I, too, have experienced the same sensation throughout the song of my life so far.
As seems natural for a reader of the Bible, this musician compared it to the word Selah as it is found throughout the Psalms and Habakkuk. While there is some debate about the meaning of that word, one of the most widely accepted ways that it is used is how it’s found in the Amplified Bible in Habakkuk 3: Selah (pause, and think calmly of that). He talked about how he’s learning to appreciate the pause, and to make sure and spend time on reflecting what had brought him to the pause. It makes sense to me that when God gives us a break, a breath, a moment, that we should take time to praise him and make sure that the steps taken coming out of the pause are what he wills.
This week seems to be the beginning of the next verse for me. I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone and writing, both in response to study and for forms required to begin the next journey. And while it would seem that the study will continue, a lot of the process is now in a holding pattern and I am paused, waiting to see what’s next. It’s probably not even an actual pause as would be found at the end of a musical phrase, more like a rest in the midst of it, but it has had me thinking about what has brought me to this place and what things look like on the other side.
In processing some of these thoughts today, I came across mention of a pause in the context of Esther’s story. She was taken into a marriage she didn’t want, to fill a role she didn’t desire. Then, to top it off, one of the king’s trusted men had it out for her cousin, and when he couldn’t get that man killed he decided he’d go after all the Jews. Esther seemed to be the last line of defense for God’s chosen people, but her cousin was quick to remind her in chapter 4, ‘If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”’
“I’m sure God has a plan in this, and that his plan will succeed, but it’s very possible that you were put here to be part of that plan.” How true is that in our lives? How many times were we put into a position to do something that seemed odd or uncomfortable, but was very likely exactly where God wanted us to be. Esther obeyed God. She did everything she was asked to do. And in the midst of it, she kept listening. In the middle of the dinner party she was hosting to get on the king’s good side before requesting her people be spared, Esther felt God push the pause button. Matthew Henry’s commentary says, “God put it into Esther’s heart to delay her petition a day longer; she knew not, but God did, what was to happen in that very night.” There was more to the story than what she could see, and she trusted that God would keep working even as she held her peace... Even as she paused
I think in this season of my life, I’m leaning harder on God than I’ve had to in a long time. Not that faith isn’t always there, but I think there’s a difference, in my opinion, between everyday faith and total reliance. There have been relatively few points in my life where I have been called into a complete unknown, the last major thing I can think of is the adoption. But this calling to ministry is a total blackout. I have no clue what God is planning at this point, I just believe I’ve had a pretty clear call to step out in faith and prepare for what God wants me to do next, whatever that may be.
So, at this stage of life, as I hear the notes from the last phrase fade, I’m waiting... or better yet, in the words of one Mr. Edward Magorium: “We Breathe. We Pulse. We Regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. Thirty-seven seconds, well used, is a lifetime.” And when my thirty-seven seconds of waiting ends, I’ll jump into the next thing God has for me.