There’s one word in the Bible that no one is absolutely sure how to interpret. ‘Selah’. It’s found in the Psalms and it’s generally taken to mean ‘Pause and think’ or ‘Reflect on this.’ I love that word. That command. Every time I come across it, it’s as if a dear and trusted friend, maybe God Himself , is saying ‘Hang on, Luce. Slow down. Think on this.’ And I’m learning how to do just that.
But sometimes words explode into my life, and fill my whole day with delight, so that I can’t slow down. So that my mind is racing. Have you ever read a couple of sentences and been really really excited by them? It might be something to do with the frame of mind you were in at the time, or a question you’d been brewing that was suddenly answered, or maybe the words were so beautiful, so poetic that they grabbed your heart? My heart was grabbed today. Really really GRABBED. The words I read aren’t unusual, each one quite everyday-ordinary, and the sentiment isn’t poetic, and it’s certainly not a word of wisdom the world has never heard before, but today, in a busy church, as people took their places and friends were greeted, and there was laughter… I read these words and my heart just sang.
On the back of our church diary, which is handed out every month, there’s a piece of writing, usually from our Pastor, an encouragement, something to think about, take to heart and remember. Today I looked at the diary and my heart went ‘zing!’. Oh, yes, Zing! ZING and WOWSER and YEAH!!!!!
If I could have clambered onto the pew and shouted everyone to shut up while I read it aloud to them, I would have. I had to send an email to three people, right there and then, in all the noise and chatter, saying ‘Look! Listen!”
“The most important thing about your life is that you love the Father. Let that sink in.”
I don’t know what I loved most about those two sentences – their truth, simplicity, certainty or that command…. ‘Let that sink in’.
I LOVE commands. I do. Weird, eh? Not all commands, obviously. This is me and I’m a raggedy difficult soul at the best of times. I don’t like commands about speed (20 miles an hour? Can a car go that slow?) or paperwork (I don’t do numbers) or diet (a cream cake a day keeps the doctor away) or… well, just about any man-made order really. But if we’re talking about eternal things, oh, boy, I love commands. Commands and verbs.
Love one another. Submit to one another. Be still and know that I am God. Love the Lord your God with your whole heart. Pray without ceasing. Be steadfast.
These are my anchors. And when a simple, clean, honest, Godly command hits my ears, it’s all I can do not to chortle aloud, so the lead-in to this month’s diary piece just twanged the strings of my heart and my soul leapt in response. ‘The most important thing about your life is that you love the Father. Let that sink in.’
Maybe I’d have slid over the first sentence, hardly noticing it, but for the second, ‘Let that sink in.’ and it will. I know that it will. I’m already thinking about the most important thing in my life, examining and questioning it, and just jolly well revelling in it.
You know what I’ve thought so far (it’s not been long)? I think that if loving God really is the most important thing in my life, all other considerations and anxieties are tiny by comparison. If loving God is my priority and my over-riding desire, I won’t take my eyes off Him, I will be guided by Him, and I will live with and for Him. When you’re in love with someone, you just can’t get enough of them.
Thank you, Lord, thank you, thank you for these moments of clarity and delight.
And then, blow me down with a feather, the very last words of the diary piece did the same bloomin’ thing! “God loves you. Tell Him today that you love Him too.”
So I have. I’ve told Him. I’m telling Him now. And I’m telling you.
Sometimes a simple word of truth is all we need to touch the edge of eternity.