In our reading group Tuesday morning, we were discussing Part 3 of Hirsch and Frost’s book The Shaping of Things to Come. One of the thoughts that struck me during our discussion was how often in Scripture and in life we experience the drama of pause. I mentioned this on Tuesday’s podcast but wanted to try and get some thoughts hammered out here as well.
? After the six days of creation, there was a day of rest… of pause.
? Abraham & Sarah’s life was put on pause between the desire for a child, the promise of a child, and the final reality of a child in Isaac.
? There was a pause while the Israelites experienced slavery in Egypt for a little over 200 years. (For an excellent article arriving at this conclusion)
? There was another long pause between Egypt and the Israelites finally obtaining the Promised Land while they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.
? There is a pause in Job between his grievous losses and his restoration.
? There’s a seven-day pause for King Saul where he was supposed to wait on the prophet Samuel to come to Gilgal. (Saul couldn’t wait and forfeited his kingdom.)
? A period of inactivity (perhaps pause?) in King David’s life – when he should have been at war with his troops – led to his adultery with Bathsheba.
[My TV just started blaring and startled Caro and me in the quietness of our living room. Apparently the kids had “paused” Sponge Bob on the TiVo, and the amount of time for the pause was up, so it switched back to live TV – and the ridiculous volume the kids had the TV set at.]
? Due to the sin of the nation, Israel experienced a 70 year pause in redemption history in captivity in Babylon.
? There was a pause after the Israelites returned to the land and built their houses before they addresseed the issue of rebuilding the temple. The prophet Haggai speaks for God, “Is it time for you to be dwelling in your paneled hosues while my house remains in ruins?”
? There is also a long pause between the last prophetic word of Malachi and the coming of the Messiah in Jesus. (about 400 years)
There are also pregnant pauses in the New Testament… periods of waiting that force those who experienced it to ask questions of the Lord or to endure hardship.
Consider the pause between the announcement of Lazarus’ desperate illness, his death and Jesus finally coming to his tomb… the time between John the Baptist’s imprisonment and his death… the moments between Peter’s first walking on the water and his sinking… the time between Saul’s conversion/loss of sight and his encounter with Ananias…
Learning from Pauses…
We can learn so much from the pauses of life. There is great power in pause. Having life put on pause for us reminds us that we are not in control. A pause gives us opportunity to examine ourselves and our presumptions. Pauses force us to slow down and many times, they open our eyes and minds to the greater significance of life and events.
Whether it’s an illness that beds you for several days or simply that occasional deep blue funk you struggle with that forces introspection, the pauses of our life can do much to bring us before the Prince of Pause.
In Revelation 8.1, the seventh seal is opened and “all heaven was quiet for about half and hour.” Wow. Stunned awe and silence. A dramatic pause in heaven prepares all creation for what happens next.
Perhaps that is how we should treat our pauses as well. Look forward to what God is doing next in your life. You may not be especially thrilled with where you are now, but be patient, be faithful, bring your mind in grateful submission to your Savior… and wait. The prophet Isaiah tells us that those who wait upon the Lord will find theit strength renewed.
Here are some other significant pauses to consider…
? The time between Jesus’ death and resurrection
? The time between the promise of the Holy Spirit and His coming at Pentecost
? The time between Jesus’ ascension and His future return…
Life may actually be designed for pauses… Rather than repeatedly and stubbornly jamming the “play” button, seeking action and busyness, perhaps we should all learn to rest, be silent, wait… and watch.
Just some extended thoughts. Thanks for pausing long enough to reflect with me…