It’s not uncommon that we like to play misery poker. We try to one up one another with our health problems, our family drama, how ridiculous a co-worker is, how unreasonable an in-law is, how terrible our day has been and on and on. This one upping to see who is more miserable is really a terrible way to pass time…and unfortunately this is something most of us will do left to our own devices. I have had conversations with my kids where their day is a bit off…and they immediately start looking for how difficult school is and how mean the bus driver was and how they don’t have a certain piece of technology…and on and on. Many of us start at our worst…and look for things to get worse. We start down and go downward.
It’s like a sequel to Sharknado…not really sure we can go up from here.
But what if we stopped declining, stopped devolving, and we looked up. We didn’t start with our problem, but we started by looking to the place from which our help comes.
In the Psalms, there is a mysterious word that gets slipped in every once in awhile. Most of us skip right over it assuming it is meaningless…but it’s not. The word is Selah. This word is a Hebrew word that means to lift up or exalt. When it’s used in music, it means to pause or break. Isn’t it interesting that in the Psalms where there are prayers, songs, and poems, there are intentional additions calling the people who share in these moments to pause, to break, to lift up, to worship.
I am reminded in moments when life seems difficult or scary, when the future seems unknown that it does us no good to spiral down. It accomplishes nothing to start from a place of panic, fear, anxiety, or misery and just go down from there. What if we start with Psalm 46?
In the Psalms, many of them begin at a place of difficulty, a place of struggle, or crisis with a cry for God to help, but Psalm 46 is different. This Psalm starts with declaring who God is, not where I am. It starts by saying, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. This is a Psalm that I can turn to, can cling to no matter if life seems good or bad; If fear is knocking at the door or the worst seems behind us. The other interesting thing is, each of the smaller sections end with that mysterious word, Selah. After each section, there is a break, a pause to stop, to exalt, to look up, to worship.
Then in the final section it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” A psalm that is focused on us trusting in God, seeing who God is, and what God can do, continues to create breaks for us to pause. The final section says, be still. Then to top it off, at the end of the entire Psalm it says, Selah.
Maybe many of the problems in our life, many of our fears and anxieties build up because we are not stopping. Maybe they are getting worse because we are not pausing. Maybe we don’t trust in God because we do not break and exalt. We do not lift up our eyes to Jesus and worship.
This week, I don’t know what is coming your way, but Selah. I don’t know what good or bad you are finding yourself in, but Selah. I don’t know what anxieties or fears or following you, but Selah. Stop. Pause. Break. Exalt. Don’t allow yourself to spiral down, but look and lift up.
Misery poker is a miserable game. Selah instead.
Join us as we Selah this Sunday, October 2nd. Remember, this week we will meet on Sunday at 9:00am to partake in Holy Communion, followed by our regular Sunday worship at 10:00am.
Join us again on Sunday night 5:00-8:00pm for a community bonfire at Grayton Beach. A moment to Selah on the beach. The easiest way for you to join us is to park at the Grayton beach public parking and take the shuttle to Grayton. Just walk down the Grayton beach boardwalk (past Red Bar) and find us there. We will have waters and s’mores and a few chairs. Feel free to bring food, drinks, and your own chairs.
If for some reason Ian causes any issues for Sunday, we will let you know via email and social media. Please make sure you follow us on Instagram and Facebook.