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The Missing Selah

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My oldest son is starting college this week and my youngest son is starting his Senior Year of High School. Every Fall marks a new season for people everywhere who have someone in their life going back to school.  

What is amazing to me is that no matter how long or short the summer is, I start to long for the rhythm that the school year brings. And I dread it at the same time. 

Years ago, I let go of the unrealistic ideal of trying to ease sleep schedules back into school year shape: early to bed, early to rise. Now the Grasso’s just suffer through the first week of being forced to get up at 5:30 am and quickly the early to bed part takes care of itself!

Way back in May when I was salivating at the thought of sleeping in, I began praying about an elusive longing I was beginning to recognize in my heart.  I knew that the summer was about to begin and that it could slip by in the blink of an eye.  I could very easily get caught up in my busy and overlook this longing. 

What was this longing edging out space in my soul?

It was a longing for more. 

More time with God. 

More of God in my day. 

More abiding presence. 

I was feeling like I was missing something in my life.  I would pray in the morning, get into the Word, go to work and before I knew it, the day rushed by in a blur of meetings, lunches, team time, event planning, etc.   My morning devotions hovered over the day without really entering it or impacting it.  I wanted more. 

One morning, I got up after the luxury of sleeping until 7am. The summer sky was just waking up with soft grays and pinks hovering over the quiet water of the lake.  I opened up the Word to the Psalms and started to read.  I chose Psalm chapter 77 for no particular reason. 

When I came vs 13-15, I was intrigued: 

13  Your ways, God, are holy.

    What god is as great as our God?

14 You are the God who performs miracles;

    you display your power among the peoples.

15  With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,

    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.  

At first look, it is simply the retelling of the Exodus story but it is also a foreshadowing of Jesus: He was holy and set apart for the work of God. He performed miracles and displayed the power of God in the midst of the people. He IS the mighty arm of God who by His sacrifice and resurrection redeemed His people and all people who recieve it.

After being intrigued, I did what I love to do and dug into research. I started looking into commentaries to see what I could learn and then looked at a couple of different translations to see what intricacies I could uncover.  

What I found was that there was a missing Selah in the NIV translation right after vs 15: 

“With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.”  (the Selah should be right here)

Selah in Hebrew is a musical instruction. It means to pause or insert a musical interlude here  – with music but no words.

As I looked at the empty space where the Selah should have been,  I thought about my busy days.  How fast they slip by and I haven’t stopped.  I haven’t paused. 

One of the core values of Beloved is Rest.  I am not talking about taking a nap (although I love a good nap) but the inner rest and peace that comes from living in the abiding presence of Jesus. 

Inner rest is something that I don’t come by naturally. I tend to be an over worker, a workaholic and overachiever. Inner stress? I can do that. Inner rest? I need to learn this.

I started to call this the “Missing Selah” and started looking for it in my life. Were there missing Selah’s in my life? Where were the opportunities to pause and bring the presence of God into small parts of my normal and abnormal life?

This pause is important. There are no points for busy – the things that keep us moving fast but getting nowhere. I so easily slip into my workaholic habits and work through until my brain feels numb and I eat whatever is easy and turn on Netflix to zone out. 

What could I do instead?

What if I added in 5 mins of Selah time sprinkled through my day? After a meeting, after lunch, on my way to an appointment, before filming – whatever it is I am filming.

A Selah pause is a placeholder for the presence of God.

What does this sacred pause look like? Let’s look at the pattern in Psalm 77:13-15.

  1. It starts with an acknowledgment of power (not your power, but God’s).

Vs 13:  “Your ways, God, are holy.  What god is as great as our God?”

  1. It matters what position you are in – who is sitting on the throne of your life? You or Jesus?  Selah is a reminder to put God back on the throne of your life and He is the one who performs miracles. 

Vs14:  “You are the God who performs miracles;  you display your power among the peoples.”

  1. The pause reminds you of purpose. You are not where you are by accident. God has a plan and purpose to use you in His plan to redeem people. God’s plan for your life centers around an intimate connection with Him that spills over into your relationships, your ways (lifestyle), in your finances and your work. 

Vs15:  “With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,

the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.  


After working through this, I pulled out my little leather prayer journal that I keep with me at all times and wrote down the above. Then I started to pause. I found my missing Selah’s –  Sometimes I paused for 5 minutes, sometimes for only 2 minutes. In it, I remind myself that the fuel of my life is God’s power, not my own, that He is on the throne, not me. That it is with His mighty arm, Jesus, that He redeems His beloved ones.  I would read the three verses and pray through them. 

It has been one of the most powerful things I have done in my life.  It meets the longing for more of God’s presence in my life and at the same time, it increases it. 

My friend, do you have “Missing Selah’s” in your life?

My challenge to you is to look for them, pause in them and ask God to meet you in the midst of your busy, chaotic day.  Five minutes, every two hours. In the car, on a walk, waiting to pick up your kids from school, waiting for your next appointment. Or whatever works for you. 

It is in the sacred moments of Selah that you and I move from surviving in-between devotions to experiencing the life of the beloved all day long.

Beloved, may you discover the missing Selah’s hidden in your life. Jesus is ready and waiting to come into every moment you invite Him into. May He enrich your life with the powerful presence of the Living God and empower you to REST in Him.

 – Cindy Grasso

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