By Monica Harris
Psalm 3:2, 4, 8
A few years ago, when the Women’s Ministry team and I were deciding upon a name for our conference, I remembered that my devotional one morning was from Psalm 3, which finds David fleeing from his son Absalom. Verse 4 says, “I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy hill. Selah”. That word, ‘Selah’, seemed to just leap off of the page as it resonated in my heart. Some commentators believe the word Selah comes from an archaic Semitic root that means “to pause” or “to reflect”. Other commentators have identified the word as a musical instruction reflecting the need to pause in the chorus of singing during Levitical worship. ‘Selah’ appears 71 times in the book of Psalms and 74 times in the Bible. With Selah appearing that many times in one book, it made perfect sense that “Pause in His Presence” would be the perfect name for our conference.
During this year’s fast, I sense that God is calling on each of us to pause and reflect on His goodness. Pastor previously mentioned in an earlier devotional post that I enjoy sitting outside and just watching the different birds that grace the trees in our backyard. I am in awe of the beautiful colors of the birds and how their small feet or claws perch upon the thin branches and remain there for long periods of time. As I sit and watch them, I imagine that they are pausing and reflecting. I know this may sound strange, but have you ever wondered what birds think about as they inquisitively look from side to side? I have often wondered if they are simply marveling at all the beauty their eyes are beholding. During this time of reflection, they engage in a unique way of communicating through their harmonious chirps, a language only they can understand and appreciate.
Those small birds are uniquely and perfectly made by a flawlessly artistic Designer - our God. But we, as human beings, even though we too are uniquely made, are far from perfect. And often, when we are afforded those quiet moments to ‘pause’ and ‘reflect’, we so often spend those times focusing on the countless imperfections that we all share. We spend so much precious time dwelling on the imperfections of our lives that we tragically miss what the birds see every day – the extraordinary beauty that is all around us. Because whether we realize it or not, our lives hold so much beauty, even in our imperfections. He made you beautiful – imperfections and all!
I came across this short story a little while ago, and I have always kept its message close to my heart. It’s a wonderful little tale of how God uses even our many imperfections to marvelously create beautiful things.
A water-bearer in India had two large pots; both hung on the ends of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to his house, the cracked pot always arrived half full.
The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and was miserable that it could only accomplish just half of what it had been designed to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the water-bearer one day by the stream, “I am ashamed of myself,” he said, “and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you must do all this work, and at the end of the day, you don’t get full value from your efforts”. But then the water-bearer said to the pot, “What? Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path but not on the other pot’s side?” “Do you know why that is?” he asked. “That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. And every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve been watering them the whole way. For two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table for my family at dinner time. Without you being just the way you are, there would never have been this beauty to grace the house.”
God reminds me of this short story whenever I start to look at my flaws and imperfections and wonder how He could ever get glory out of me. God also reminds me that He made me for His glory, just the way I am. Dear friend, God also made you just the way you are – all for His glory.
So the next time you get an opportunity to ‘pause’ and ‘reflect’, don’t waste such a precious moment dwelling on the imperfections of your life. Instead, take that time to thank God for those imperfections, and ask Him to make something beautiful out of them. For every crack that He doesn’t mend, and for every scar that He chooses not to erase, ask Him to use it as a testimony that waters the gardens of others. Selah – Pause in His Presence and think about that.
Father, thank You for creating me just the way I am. Help me not allow my flaws to distract me from what You have called me to do and who You have called me to be. As I inhale your grace, and exhale your mercy, help me to be the best me I can be. I can do all things through You, Lord, who gives me strength. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Find a quiet room, a quiet seat, or a quiet space where you and God can be alone. Pause and sit with Him and thank Him for all of the beautiful things He has graced Your life with. Then thank Him for the little cracks and scars as well. Ask Him that as He heals them, that He would use them for His glory.
Published on Jan 18 @ 12:20 AM EDT