And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. Luke 4:1-2 KJV
We missed our connecting flight in Chicago once and spent five hours till the next one was available. While my wife was happy to walk around, shop a bit and spend the day content until our flight, I shamefully stomped back and forth around the terminal repeating more times than I would like to recall, “This is stupid! I can’t believe we missed our flight!” Dealing with down time has never been my strong suit though, because God has orchestrated multiple occasions like this in my life I have learned to go with the flow far better than that day in Chicago. Did you ever wonder what Jesus did with all His “down time” during that 6 1/2 weeks in the wilderness? It is easy to fast forward through these verses to get to the action scenes with Jesus crushing Satan by the word of God and heading out of the wilderness to His ministry. But forty days and forty nights is a long time. Of course we can be pretty confident that Jesus spent many hours in prayer, but what else could he have been doing from sunup to sundown?
But maybe Jesus could leave that wilderness in power, not simply because He defeated Satan, but also because He had learned the secret of rest. He had not worried what people thought about Him back in Nazareth, He rested in God’s plan. He didn’t try to start planning the ministry that lay before Him He simply enjoyed the peace and quiet. Maybe Jesus passed time watching birds and heard His Father explain how He cared for them. Maybe He watched seeds sprouting up by a stream in that desert place and saw how tiny beginnings could grow into trees able to bear fruit for hungry travelers. When it was time for breakfast and His stomach growled like every other man’s, maybe He just quietly thanked His Father for the living bread of His word to give Him strength. We will never know till heaven the answer to all these questions but it might be instructive during our next down time, to pause and ask Jesus what He did and then ask Him how to be more like Him during our own time of waiting in the wilderness.
I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. Psalm 3:4 KJV
Last week I broke one of my toes while tripping over a chair on the way to the coffee machine in the morning. What bothers me almost as much as the pain is the fact that this injury has put a halt to many of the activities I had planned for this week. I have had to pause and reconsider what is most important. Now in the Bible there is a word that reminds me of my situation and that is the word Selah. Though the precise meaning of Selah is debatable, it is some sort of annotation denoting a time to pause and reflect. Selah is used much the way a rest is used in music. When I was a child I struggled with those rests in my clarinet lessons. A four beat rest was especially hard, though it gave me the needed moment to take a breath, it was hard not to start tooting my next note before it was finished. In that same way, God sometimes places a long rest between events in our lives. Oh yes it is hard to wait out those full four beats with nothing we can do!
We take a quick breath and ask – “When can I play my next note?” But God, who is the wise orchestra director of our life knows exactly how long we the rest must be. This rest is not just an accident, it is written into the composition of His symphony. It is time to pause and reflect on the last measures He gave us to play. Not until just the right moment, with our full attention given to the direction of His baton, will it be time to start tooting again. Maybe like me, you are experiencing God’s call for Selah today. Instead of fussing and fretting over what we can’t do, we need to see this as His perfect timing, for taking a deep breath so that we will be ready to play just the right note! So I’ve shared my personal Selah moment for this week – is anyone else willing to share yours? It just might give someone else a needed blessing today!