Today’s post, Finding Shalom and Selah, is from a new friend – Mr. Mike Buchanan. We met digitally through a Christian Podcast FB page, and discovered we have the same heart for teaching and encouraging our fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. He recently published a devotional book titled “Feeling down? Look Up!!”, which is filled with daily helpful advice to continue pursuing our Lord’s heart, even when we aren’t feeling like it, or are in the depths of a darker place. I invited him to be a guest author for us; to share something that the Lord has shown him. Without further ado, here is Mike’s message:

“Sometimes it’s hard to find rest.  Other times it’s difficult to find peace.  As a former sleep tech, I would suggest there are even times it’s troublesome to have both simultaneously.  Hence, the term “fitful sleep”.  My encouragement is this: it is possible. Not only is it possible, but it can happen when it seems least likely. How do I know? Jesus did it.

Before we look at that, a brief Hebrew lesson. Two Hebrew words. One is selah. It means to pause and reflect. We see it all throughout the Psalms. The other word is shalom. It is a greeting, but it also means peace. It is a blessing. Now, back to Yeshua, the Hebrew word for Jesus.

Our passage is Mark 4:35-41, “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side. Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

There He is. Sleeping. He doesn’t have a care in the world at the moment. He’s just finished some hard work for the ministry. He is resting. Selah. He’s earned it. He is at peace. Shalom.

His disciples are not. They are freaking out! No shalom. They are in a seasonal storm.  They feel as if they are fighting the sea for their lives. No selah. They are going to die. These seasoned fishermen are convinced they are going to die. SOON!! Listen.

“Lord! Jesus! Help! We’re about to drown! A little help please?!??!! You do care about us, right? Yo, Jesus, do SOMETHING!!”

Jesus stays in his restful attitude, keeps his selah. He is not bothered by the storm. By his disciples, maybe, but not by a little sea and rainwater in his face. So, He comes out of his rest, his Selah. With Him, He brings the Peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). But first, He says to the disciples, “O ye of little faith.” Then to the storm. “Peace (shalom) be still.”

He hadn’t been afraid. He knew there was no real danger. He was resting. He was pausing in chaos. He had peace. Shalom in a selah. Okay, to be fair, He is the Prince of Peace, He is also called the King of Peace, but still, best of all, He offers that to us.

I was recently in a situation where I needed to find the shalom in the selah. It would be great if I could tell you I did. I wish I could tell you I did. Not this time. 

I can tell you it has happened many more times than not in my life. One of the most memorable times, I was working a 12-hour shift in a sheet metal plant the night before a literal life and death surgery for my mom. The choice? Don’t do surgery, she dies within the year. Do surgery, there’s a one in three chance she dies on the table. A friend at church reminds me of
Philippians 4:6-8 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Before I go to work that night.  I set my mind on that. For 12 hours of work, I have my shalom in my selah, and in the chaos as well. Mom made it through surgery and we had her for another 2 years.

God has done it multiple times since then, and had done it several times before. The point is, we can find the peace in rest. He will provide peace in storms and chaos. Shalom can be yours in selahs.
Jesus said, “Come to me and learn how to rest.” (Matt. 11:28-30, condensed) 

The key lesson is being taught by the Prince of Peace. Will you find your selah? Your shalom?

Food for thought: The next time you are worried or anxious, thank God for your blessings, sing songs of praise like you mean it.  You will find God has created you in such a way you really can’t be worried or anxious and simultaneously give Him praise and thanksgiving.

Fun facts: Some theologians believe the disciples were afraid because local people thought there were gods or demons that controlled the Sea of Galilee. They thus believe, this was Jesus again showing his disciples that He had ALL authority over every other power.”

Photo by: Mike Buchanan Peaceful Ocean in Hawaii.

*** Mike Buchanan’s book is available by clicking the title link below:
“Feeling Down? Look Up!!”