The Pause: Silence before the next step up
Mark 8:31, ‘And He (Jesus) began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.’ NASB
Why do we have pauses in our life?
J W Stowell once wrote in an article, transitions are like hitting the white water of life. These seasonal changes that affront our senses. They move us from what is comfortable, known and packed full of memories to what is new, unknown, uncertain and often fraught with anxiety and insecurity. They are the inevitable sometimes unscheduled leaps from one season to another.
This is when we come face to face with what I call, THE PAUSE. Oh, how we wrestle with the pause. We fight it, we try to avoid it by filling our time with trivial things. We fret and worry to no avail. We wonder about all the “what ifs”.
A time of questioning
Is God still speaking to me? Why is he silent concerning his future plans for us? We become challenged as to our purpose in life, and hunger for the next step as though our worth depends upon what we are doing.
Sam Chand indicates in his book Who’s Shakin’ your Ladder, if change is the result of a decision either our own or circumstances then transition is the emotional, relational, financial and psychological processing of change.
Transition-(again adapted and expanded from San Chand’s book)
Most people experience distinct stages in transition, which vary in length.
- There is first the awareness or contemplation of change which may hit us unexpectedly.
- Then darkness and silence for a period. This is THE PAUSE stage.
- Eventually it is followed by insight and clarity with direction.
- Finally action and momentum.
Focus comes with THE PAUSE
Pauses are for the internal adjustment; a season of the heart.
The pause always brings focus. What we do during this stage will affect our next step up. It is a time to exercise self-control and discipline to intentionally allow prayer times to expand with reading and studying the Word.
During a pause it is not time to try to make plans for the next move but time to go deeper into the Word, strengthening our intimacy with our Saviour and speaking with honour to the Holy Spirit. The Father has the next plan well in hand.
Pauses are a time for reflection, as a metamorphosis is taking place within. Spend the time you normally minister to others by ministering to yourself and the Lord.
Do that study on a topic you have always wondered about. Read that inspiring book or non-fiction teaching resource you have never had time for. Take walks for prayer – simply communing with the Lord, not fretting for the next step. Intentionally worship and speak in tongues as you go about your daily responsibilities.
Jesus had his pauses
Jesus’ promised abilities were revealed at the age of twelve yet the Father put his life on PAUSE until he was mature emotionally and physically as a man – he had to wait another twenty years!
Jesus experienced other pauses as well. After every pause season, short or long, he took another step forward in his ministry. When every human would have been chomping at the bit to get going in the ministry, he went into the wilderness for 40 days after being baptised and approved by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This time to be tempted. Immediately after this testing time, he chose the twelve (Luke 6:12-16) with complete confidence.
In John 11 we read Jesus stayed two days longer in the place where he was even though he knew his dear friend Lazarus was dying elsewhere. God’s timing had its purpose in this brief pause which had a greater effect than imagined. The result, he raised Lazarus from the dead, a definite step up in his ministry from healing and deliverance.
One of the most profound pauses Jesus went through was between his death and resurrection.
Cherish THE PAUSE
Cherish the pauses. Look beyond the silence of ministry activities and begin to pray for the vistas afar off. Take a step up into new territories of trust and faith.
- Know the power of being chosen.
- Transcend and reset boundaries.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare – to express what God has given you to be a moving force on the earth.
- Move only by the Spirit.
- Know that no obstacle will go with you into this next season.
In my autobiography, you will read of many pauses in my life. Some short but others years long. What I have discovered is what I spent my time doing prepared me for the next step and it was always a step up.
Transition is a time for metamorphosis
If we fight against the pauses and fill our vacant time with trivialities, metamorphosis towards the next step will not happen.
Lean into the pauses. Thank God for each day he preparing you for something greater.
Transition into our heavenly home
THE PAUSES in this life are in great contrast to the instantaneous transition into our heavenly home for all believers – our final step up.
All streams of our earthly seasons, both in the natural and in the spiritual get muddied, but the streams in heaven in Revelation 22 are clear, and refreshing. They give life, and preserve life, to those who drink of them, and they will flow for evermore. The tree of life is fed by the pure waters of the river that comes from the throne of God.
‘On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond servants shall serve Him, they will see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads’ (v2-4).