I became friends with Larry Bresnan my senior year in high school. Larry went to a Fellowship for Christian Athletes camp after graduation and gave his life to Jesus. Larry found peace with God, started reading the Bible, and continually told me “Jesus is alive.” Even though Larry seemed to be on a radical Christian trip, his peace and persistence impressed me. If Jesus was alive, I wanted to get to know Him as well. In January of 1970, I followed Larry’s advice and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Larry moved to Oregon, where he got married and had four children.
Twelve years later, I heard Larry had colon cancer. My friends Billy Stockton and Mike Griffiths joined me in fasting for three days asking God to heal Larry. We drove to Oregon to pray for him. I was heartbroken when he died several months later. I have always been thankful for his influence in my life, which continues to this day. I had a dream about Larry last month.
In my dream, I saw Larry with his curly brown hair, a bushy beard, and a big smile on his face. As I moved nearer to him, his face grew dark. I heard a voice say, “You cannot see his face.”
“It doesn’t matter, I know what he looks like,” I replied. I kept moving closer to Larry because I was so glad to see my friend once again.
Then a voice said, “I have a message for you.” At that moment, I realized it was the Lord speaking to me. He gave me a one-word message, “Selah.”
I woke up after the dream just after midnight. I thought about the Lord’s message for a while, and then got up and opened my Bible to read Psalm 24. Selah is a Hebrew word used many times in the Psalms. It is used after particularly meaty phrases. Its primary meaning is pause. Pause, think about what this means, wait a moment, and let this truth sink in before going further.
The editors of the new NIV Bible have removed Selah from their translation. That is unfortunate, because we need Selah now more than ever. It is a simple concept which can help us grasp truth.
A nap is a Selah in your day.
A Sabbath day is a Selah in your week.
A vacation is a Selah in your year.
A Sabbatical is a Selah in your career.
Selah helps seeds of truth take root in our hearts when we read the scriptures. Selah can help restore our soul when we are on vacation. Selah can help us understand our spouse in a discussion. Selah can prevent us from saying something we regret in an argument. Selah can help restrain us when we are angry, and restore us when we are tired. Selah is what a golf pro told me to do at the top of my backswing. Selah is what Jesus said to me through Larry in my dream.
I lay awake on my bed thinking about Larry alive with Jesus. I felt like I had seen him for the first time since he died. Then I thought about our son Matthew, and others I love who are alive with Jesus. I asked the Lord to forgive me for ever doubting the reality of heaven. My heart has been broken, and my heart has been healed, because Jesus is alive. Jesus said, “Because you have seen me you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jn. 20:29).
Christ is going to raise us all from the dead, so there is no reason to worry, or hurry. We all have battles, and we all have pain in life; Selah can help us appreciate our blessings as well. Psalm 24:7 says, Lift up your heads you gates; be lifted up you ancient doors, that the King of Glory may come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.