Just before Thanksgiving, I came down with what the Dr. told me was the flu. Very quickly, I was fatigued, feverish, had excruciating headaches, and a chest cold that kept me coughing all day and all night. It was miserable.
Fast forward two weeks and I was still in bad shape, only now, it had turned into a bacterial infection-Bronchitis. I was still in bed most of the time and growing more weary by the day. As I lay in bed, my thoughts swirled from asking the Lord if I had unrepentant sin that I needed to take care of and if this was some kind of curse…I’m dramatic like that. Or, if this was indeed some kind of blessing to look at in a “different” kind of way.
Each morning, my sweet four-year old would come in and pat me. My voice long gone, I would just try to whisper a morning hello amidst the shooting pain in my head and neck. “Here we go again”, I would think. “Another day of misery.” One afternoon she said to me, “I wish you would just talk to me like you used to…like normally.” Ugh! Talk about a heartbreak!
One night, as I coughed myself awake, I lay thinking about my condition and again asked the Lord, if there was something I was not dealing with and why I was still so sick! I was beginning to feel bitter about missing the holiday with our family, not being able to talk to my kids and my husband, slacking on my jobs at home, and just feeling like a burden instead of a blessing. I felt the Lord impress this word on my heart: “Selah.”
It felt profound at the moment, but not enough to get my sick body out of bed. Enough however, to think about the times I had read “Selah” in a Psalm. It was often a place to pause, or a shift in thinking from what the Psalmist initially thought, beginning often in a place of defeat, they would move to a place of victory and trust in what God was doing.
Selah…a shift in my way of thinking.
It had my attention.
When I had the strength to do so, I began reading a little bit about Selah. It’s so interesting that I wanted to share a few thoughts with you.
If you just look at this one Psalm, an absolute favorite of mine, in chapter 3, you’ll see some really interesting turns in David’s thinking.
O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God. Selah[a]
David had obviously grown weary and felt like everyone was against him. We often feel that way, don’t we? Life situation, sickness, relationships, and even busyness can bring us to a point of feeling like the “world is against us”. He stops there to pause. We do too at times, but I gather from David that we shouldn’t stay camped out there for too long or we may begin to grow bitter.
3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
Feeling like the masses are rising against him, David proclaims his need and how he too, has to call out to the Lord for help. This has been me, so many times. How do I make it without the Lord? I just don’t; I don’t know how anyone does. David knows where to turn for the “shield about him”-his protection. And he recognizes that it’s the Lord, who is the lifter of his downturned head. Oh, if we would all turn to the Lord in our deepest need…and pause there, reflecting on who God is and how He meets us in that dark place. David confirms what I know to be true: the Lord answers us when we cry out to Him.
5 I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Here we see that after the pause, David was able to rest again. Because the Lord. The Lord gave him the peace to lay down his head and actually fall asleep. I wonder how often we lose sleep, or lose hope, or grow anxious because we don’t turn to the One who can really sustain us through the trial? And if we had, how much more hopeful we would walk through it.
7 Arise, O Lord!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord;
your blessing be on your people! Selah
David’s heart changed dramatically through the course of these eight verses. From, “everyone wants to kill me” to “Your blessing be on your people!”. David knew that any salvation he would receive from his trial was going to come through the Lord. Then, he paused again to ponder that truth.
I don’t know about you, but that’s transformational for me! I needed this pause; this time to just refocus, apparently, at the busiest time of the year. I didn’t want it, but God chose it for me.
As I lay in bed tonight, I will recount my many blessings just over the course of these past two and a half weeks, where friends have watched my children and entertained them so that I could rest. I even had one homeschooling mom offer to come teach my kids! I’ve had friends bring their diffusers and cover me in oils that allowed me to endure the night and breathe! We’ve had meals every time we needed one, and my husband has served me beautifully and even decorated our house for Christmas! I called him my “Christmas Elf” as more décor kept appearing.
So, a curse? No. This Selah, was for me, one of the greatest Christmas blessings I could have received. Now, that’s a shift in thinking!
Have you ever had a “Selah”? What has God shown you?