This weekend in our area, most things came to a screeching stop. We had an unusual snowstorm that dropped over one foot of snow. This is very remarkable for our area. The weather service sent many alerts, warning people to stay off the road to stay safe. I determined to heed their warnings, cozying up and watching the wonder of God’s creation called snow.
Because of the intensity of the storm, it wasn’t hard to understand the need to stop. But sometimes we miss it. Life gets moving. Our agenda runs our schedule and we just keep going. We might miss some important God stops along the way if we are not listening carefully to the Holy Spirit.
I don’t want to get too analytical concerning all starts and stops in our life. But they happen. My daughter is experiencing a slowdown because of hernia repair surgery. She is recovering well, but for six weeks she has to be careful of her activities. Difficult for a busy mom of three. Because of her surgery, the entire family changed their routine. It was a forced stop for them all. God is using this time to help her children grow and the family to become a stronger team. This was a needed stop.
There are many stops described in the scriptures. The Israelites stopped to celebrate! When they crossed into the Promised Land, they rejoiced to see their enemies overthrown. God ordained the Passover celebrations, the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of the Harvest to name a few. These declared stops encouraged them to remember what God did for them. Jesus instituted communion or the breaking of bread as a stop to take time to remember the power of the cross and what His sacrifice brought us.
When was the last time you took time to enjoy a Sabbath rest? I am old enough to remember when all stores were closed on Sundays, which forced people to change their pace. As we’ve grown to a speedy 24/7 lifestyle, we must take ownership of that precious God ordained stop. No one is going to force you to take a Sabbath rest. It is must be an intentional choice, choosing to release faith that you will get as much done in six days as you would in seven. An outside culture does not require it, but our body and soul still need that rest. Maybe if we take more truly Sabbath rests, we won’t need as many forced rests to let our body heal!
Sometimes our stops are made on the behalf of others..Read through the gospels, note how often He was interrupted! He used those interruptions to teach, touch and train not only His disciples, but all who were listening. He even had interruptions during many of His teachings. He took the time to stop and meet the immediate needs of those around Him. I wonder if I can learn to be that sensitive. As I am hosting four of my grandchildren this week, I am re-discovering how challenging it is to take time to stop and listen and respond to their wants and needs. It changes my routine, and that is not always easy.Unexpected phone calls or visitors often reveal our heart toward stops. Will we take that call? Will we welcome our guests? Do we hear of a need and ignore our part in helping meet that need? Growing in sensitivity about the needs of others is difficult when our culture is all about me. Jesus was aware of the needs of others, and He did not let His agenda interfere with meeting those needs, nor should we.
Learning to heed the stops of the Lord is just that a learning process. As we learn to watch and listen to the Holy Spirit, our lives will be fuller and actually more peaceful. It is difficult, but it is so worth it. I regret not listening to these stops in the past.
Father, I ask that you help us learn to be aware of all the stops that come our way. I thank you for helping us respond to the forced stops with expectation and joy, trusting you are working all things together for my good.. I thank you for helping us learn to celebrate communion wholeheartedly, reminding us of your loving sacrifice for us. Father, I choose to receive the stops that come from interruptions as an opportunity to grow in patience and long-suffering. In Jesus’ Name, amen.