The thing about being a medico is that more often than not, your timeline revolves around some exam or the other. You’re either preparing for one or you’re awaiting the results of one you’ve just given. I’m writing from a place of waiting on what verdict the national board is going to pass on the rest of what the next few years might look like for me based on a number of multiple choice questions I may or may not have done right. So this waiting is like the queue outside a public toilet I’m told- when you’re outside you really want to get in, but when you’re inside you desperately want to finish and get out!
That’s one kind of waiting. Then there’s the other kind- the kind where you’re waiting with baited breath for your doctor to tell you whether chemo has worked or not, or for the neonatologist to examine your baby and tell you whether things might turn out okay after all or not, or for the police to call back saying they found your missing person- the kind where after you’ve waited a couple minutes you start thinking, ‘know what? Maybe it’s maybe better I don’t know about it’ cos you’re afraid of the answer that’s going to come.
I don’t know what place you’re finding yourself in today- whether you’re waiting to get a particular outcome or you’re considering whether the outcome of all the wait might actually be worse than the wait itself, whether you’re glad that there’s some rest while you wait or you find yourself in a vacuum all of a sudden, like a noisy silence, and you wish there was some sort of breakthrough somewhere…but let me take you to an interesting word you find nearly 74 times in the Bible that caught my attention recently- Selah.
It’s a word that comes with no strings attached – it never comes as part of a sentence.
But it’s kind of always interestingly positioned. Smack right in the middle of a song or after a heartfelt lament or a poem of overwhelming praise. Some of us find ourselves in a selah position sometimes right? Like you woke up at 5 am to be in time for an appointment and then you ran all through the day to just make it happen and you end up being stuck in traffic so that you reach within a few milliseconds of the time you were given, and check yourself in, high on adrenaline, only to find yourself in the waiting room. “The doctor will see you in a few minutes”… a semicolon in the middle of your day.
You made a timetable for your life and tried to perfect it to the T- made it to the topmost college, passed out with honours, met the love of your life and probably you’re the youngest graduate around, but then the callback from the interview you gave hasn’t come. You may have to look for another job. It might take months maybe a year or so…a pause.
Who ever thought that when you got married to the love of your life and had plans and dreams and then maybe you may have problems conceiving? Who ever thought that despite having planned your delivery to perfection, you might have to wait for a few minutes for your baby to cry after being born?
These places of waiting come in unexpected and most times we’re hardly prepared for them. They have us wondering, ‘Did I do something wrong?’
So I looked up what this word really means- and most of the time it’s used as an interlude in a psalm. Though an accurate description is hard to find, the consensus is that it is a break, encouraging the reader/listener to pause and look back, some say to pause and praise- to catch a breath and consider how far you’ve come.
Find yourself wondering how on earth did you end up here? Or why’s nothing happening? The calls that never came, the unexpected outcomes, the sudden failure, the dreary diagnosis, the friend that never turned up, the stagnant family life?
Let me encourage you dear friend to do what this ‘Selah‘ phase is maybe all about. Look up to your Creator, look how far you’ve come, catch a breath, lift up your hands, and praise. He is just as good as He’s always been. The miracles we’ve read about? They aren’t just stories. They happened. And the God who made them happen? Thankfully for us, He is still the same.
You are just as good
You are just as kind
You are just as glorious
Just as divine As You’ve always been
You’re not changing
If the skies turn grey
And the lights grow dim
It doesn’t mean Your faithfulness
Is wearing thin It’s not wavering
You’re not changing
Anytime soon (Not just stories, Maryanne J George)
“For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.“