The Power of the Pause
May 20, 2020, by Pastor Bob Bolt
This morning my wife and I were out taking our morning walk. As we walked along, I said to her, “Wow look at that purple tree. It looks almost like a lilac bush but it’s not.” We then kept walking and I noticed this tree that was flowering all in pink. So I said, “Isn’t that a cool looking tree wearing pink”. She said, “Since when have you stopped to observe trees flowering?”
Good point! I thought to myself. I normally breeze right by them. Was it the fact that I went down to our community garden last week and I had flowers and plants on my mind? Has Pastor Kevin been inspiring me to find God in the outdoors every week during our morning services? Am I coming down with something? I’m not sure exactly why I’m noticing them but I like the fact that I’m seeing some things that normally I just rush right past!
We tend to be busy people and take pride in our busyness! We are not good at practicing rest. I think this was one reason why I quit the piano. I had a hard time dealing with rest. First, I found it hard to just sit still when I wanted to be outside playing baseball or building forts. My mom was my piano teacher and made me sit down for a whole half hour for a piano lesson every week! She then insisted that I was to come back to the piano throughout the week and sit and practice!! On top of just sitting still, she insisted that I observe the musical notation sign called a rest. This was hard for me to read the rest notation. The only reason that a composer would put a sign like a rest in music is that he ran out of energy, creativity or was just plain lazy. Why rest when you can bang on the keys, I thought. But my mother said,
“Music is always sweeter after a rest!”
As much as Jesus had to do in his short 33-year stay here on earth, He found times to get away from the busyness of the crowds and the world around him. Whether this was totally by himself or with just his disciples. Matthew 5 begins, “Now when he (Jesus) saw the crowds…” (Knowing how many important things he had to do, I know how this sentence ends. “He headed right down there to be where the action is”. Or “When he saw the crowds he rushed down to heal the many hurt and oppressed people. Or “He saw the opportunity to do evangelism and ran towards them).
The verse continues,
“He went up to the mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him and he began to teach them”.
Now if you are familiar with Matthew 5, 6, and 7, you know this is the Sermon on the Mount. This certainly was a wonderful verbal message that Jesus taught his disciples. But perhaps one of the strongest points of the message was the non-verbal message he taught them. That message was this:
Before He went to the masses, he went to the mountains.
Before the disciple encountered the crowds, they encountered the Christ.
Before they faced the people, they were reminded of the sacred.
What a wonderful reminder!
During these unusual times, perhaps God can teach you the power of the pause.
Maybe going to the doctor by myself doesn’t have to be a lonely time but a moment to focus closer on God’s presence with me! Maybe instead of thinking about all the activities I’m missing, I focus on creating some good times with my family. Maybe instead of quickly walking past the purple or pink tree, I say, “Wow God, you sure are a wonderful artist!”
That seems to be a good COVID Christian comeback to turn isolation into a time of solitude.