There is a universal symbol that has become simple, common knowledge to most of us.

It’s the pause button.

It’s what you push or click to interrupt whatever is playing. It puts the music or the movie or whatever is playing on hold…

It’s not the same as stop. Stop is what you push when you are finished. Stop is what you click when you are through listening or watching.

Why am I here writing about a pause button?

We are having our second “snow day” within a week today. It’s a strange thingto have a day that you didn’t expect to just be at home. It’s not so much, for me, that I’m not working. It’s just stopping all of the going and running and busyness. It’s an unexpected pause.

It seems that, at least for our American culture, we are so constantly going – whether for work or for play – that we rarely, if ever, simply pause. We rush from place to place, activity to activity, commitment to obligation to expectation. We pass one another on the way with no time to stop and engage with people. There are some weeks in our house that we have to get everybody up early to have breakfast together just to have a few minutes in one spot.

Then there are these times that come along when it seems like God pushes the pause button for us. We may not stop working or studying or whatever, but most of the things for which we have to get out and go get put on hold. School is closed. Church services are cancelled. Community activities and social gatherings are rescheduled.

And we find ourselves with an unexpected pause.

Like my kids when I walk in and pick up the remote and pause their tv show, we often are caught off-guard and maybe even a little frustrated. It throws off our rhythm. We were rolling along.

But sometimes, when someone pushes pause for us, we suddenly have the space to hear things that were going on but we just weren’t hearing. Like Elijah on the mountain (1 Kings 19) who heard, after the wind and the earthquake and the fire, a still, small voice.

Don’t miss whatever it is that you might need to hear in the pause… even if it’s the glorious beauty of silence.

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