I think that most of us can agree that the last few weeks have been unusual, unsettling, and even a little unbelievable. You know those, “Wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t of seen it with my own two eyes” kind of moments? Well, here we all are living one of those very moments! I’ve seen a lot of my friends and family, don’t worry – it’s all been from a socially distanced and acceptably deemed safe space – oh the glorious power of the internet… anyways, I’ve seen a lot of my friends and family talk about this “time out” that so many of us are experiencing. It got me to thinking about the importance of the “pause” button. How many of us use the “pause” button without even thinking about it? I have even used it multiple times today. I use it when doing school work, watching a movie, reading a book, listening to music, or what about that all-important video game? (Hello, that also requires a “save” button!!). Lately, I’ve noticed how important the pause button is when we speak, when we think, and even when we act.
While I’ve seen a lot of really encouraging posts, I’ve also seen a lot of negative posts. You know, those posts where everyone is judging everyone else’s actions: “Why are they going there?” “Why are they so afraid to leave their home?” “Don’t they know we are all supposed to be staying home?” “Is that even essential?”
And you know what I’ve learned from all of this? Everyone’s idea of essential is different… and it’s really okay. What if we acknowledged that our view of what we see is limited? What if we chose to look at everyone with grace instead of judgment? What if we chose to assume the good instead of the bad? What if, just maybe, we chose to change the world for good, for God, by being… kind… even in the midst of worry, fear, and intense amounts of stress. What if we chose to press pause on those feelings, and instead chose to rest in hope, grace, and the peace that passes all understanding? In a world that is looking for security and stability – what if we as the church expressed that very thing? Isaiah 33:6, “And he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.” Can you imagine the difference we could make in this world if we hoarded peace like we hoard toilet paper?
Christian now is the time to be responsible. Use this pause wisely. Learn from it. Look around, really look, and see how you can serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. For such a time as this.
Read: Mark 4:38-40 & Mark 15:16-39, 16:1-8
Consider: With all of this extra time on our hands, I have been getting caught up on some reading! I was talking with a friend of mine and we were both discussing the account of when Jesus calmed the storm. You know, when the disciples were on the boat with Jesus and a storm came and they were scared so they went and woke Jesus up? Can you imagine how different the story would have been if Jesus, upon awaking, totally freaked out? Can you even picture Jesus running around with His hands in the air and screaming: “Perish! We are all going to perish! Aaaaahhhhh!”? While we both laughed at the idea, we also discussed how we can be confident in approaching our God because He is the author of our story, and calming the storm is but a matter of three words: “Peace! Be still.” (Oh dear, I see another pause!).
We all know, a story is only as good as its ending. Have you ever watched a show or read a book and been completely hooked and then the end comes and it is the biggest let-down? Wait! The story can’t end like that! Come on! I’m invested – give me a worthy ending! Hopefully, I’m not the only one and you all can relate! I love that our God gives us the perfect ending, which is really a beginning of getting to spend eternity with Him! John 14:2-3 says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
If your story isn’t good yet, it isn’t over – Jeremiah 29:11, 1 John 5:4, 1Peter 5:10, and Psalm 23 are fantastic portions of Scripture to cling to and claim for your life when it feels like the ending won’t be worth it and you just can’t take another step. Keep on pushing forward. God will not fail you. Hebrews 6:19 encourages us, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.” Remember that we are more than conquerors – victory has already been won.
You can trust your story will have a more-than-satisfactory ending because you can trust Jesus. Jesus wrote our story on the Cross of Calvary, with His blood, and that ending became a happily ever after for all who believe on His name when He conquered death, hell, and the grave. 1 Corinthians 15:55 tells us, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
What an inspiring ending to our stories! You know how at the end of a book the author will give you a glimpse of the future – what happened in the five, ten, twenty years since the end of the story took place? Well, we have more than a glimpse, we have a promise that we will spend eternity with our Creator! May this promise inspire us to keep serving Him, with all of our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls – even while practicing the pause.
To Do: How are you practicing using the “pause” button in your own life? What areas are you struggling in, knowing you need to “pause” but would rather press “fast forward”?