Selah

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome and power
Our God, Our God…

Into the darkness you shine
Out of the ashes we Rise
There’s no One like You
None like You.

What an appropriate song for our church to sing this weekend! I doubt Chris Tomlin meant “out of the ashes we rise” literally when he wrote those words, but that’s exactly what so many in our congregation are doing this summer.

The service continued with other songs about how great and powerful God is, and how we can trust him in the midst of adversity. It was powerful. And yet…

I realized that, at this moment in time, I am not facing anything earth-shattering in my personal life. Things are returning to normal—a normal I might have found boring earlier, but now embrace with contentment. All is well.

What a relief!

I’ve noticed that God’s lessons seem to come in waves. Often it starts by something I read in the Bible. I’m just going along, doing my daily Scripture reading, and a verse jumps off the page at me. Often, it pertains to an area where I’m not up to God’s standards. I dig in, and realize something (e.g., me) has to change. That’s the classroom lesson.

Then comes the lab. God is incredibly adept at changing our life circumstances to fit his intentions. He wants me to have more patience? You can be sure I’ll be stuck in traffic, frustrated by computer glitches, or annoyed by an acquaintance who insists on relating her entire life history along with that of every one of her ailing aunts, bossy cousins, and that nephew who isn’t going to graduate with his class.

Often, God chooses to serve up more than one lesson at a time. I quickly get overwhelmed with life, and it feels as if I’m slogging through muck. It’s a very effective way to help me realize I can’t do this—I need God. My prayer life flourishes, but I begin to dread waking up in the morning. You know that saying about sometimes we’re the windshield, and sometimes we’re the bug? Yeah, I feel like I’m smeared in a dozen gory colors across God’s windshield. I may be growing to be more like Jesus, but oh it hurts! And just at the point where I really can’t stand it (which is long past the point where I thought I needed a break)…

Selah. Peace, tranquility, quiet joy. Like being in the eye of a storm, everything calms and I can rest.

That’s where I am right now. Resting.

I don’t mean physical rest, although I did enjoy a couple of days of lying around the house, reading entertaining science fiction stories and drinking lemonade. After several consecutive weeks with no Sabbath, I needed that kind of rest.

But today I’m back in the daily routine, editing photos, writing articles, working out at Curves, weeding the garden. My to-do list is a mile long, cluttered with phone calls, errands, and reminders. But these are everyday tasks. I actually like to weed the garden, edit photos, and write articles. And while I don’t enjoy paying bills or making appointments, at least they aren’t stressful.

As the worship time ended, our pastor asked us to close our eyes and consider that huge hurdle in our lives that we were anxious about—the situation we could not deal with. As he went on to remind us that our God is greater, our God is stronger, I realized that I couldn’t think of anything. I’m not anxious about anything. There is no huge hurdle.

After the lesson, after the lab, there comes a time when we can process what we’ve learned, rest, and recover. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts—there’s always another semester ahead.

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