There are seasons in life where you learn to just hang on for the ride. My family’s in one of them now.
For several weeks, we’ve been in the middle of preparing for an interstate move (with husband there and me here), trying to find the “perfect” house (which apparently doesn’t exist), finishing all the end of school year activities for two kids, and trying to occasionally write interesting blog posts (although at this point I’d settle for adequate). And through it all, the one major take away has been learning that human beings were not intended to subsist on six hours of sleep a night, diet coke, and chocolate.
I confess I’m pretty much an idealist. In my world, if I want something badly enough, if I work hard enough, and if I just commit to making sure it happens, it will. Food, sleep, rest? What are those? They’re simply props for the weak. And yet, what I’m discovering—once again even after several decades on this planet—is my own weakness. I’m learning about my inability to do it all, how quickly stress affects every part of me and my tendency to be really mean when I’m overwhelmed.
But thankfully, this week I re-learned something even more important.
This last Sunday—after wrestling three kids into dress clothes (which included discovering that child #2 cheekily grew out of ALL his pants overnight), brushing teeth, combing hair, and screaming at them to get out the door so we wouldn’t be late (which we were)—I finally sat down in church. Only to be confronted about thirty minutes later with this verse:
“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.”
Our pastor didn’t spend a lot of time on it; but the Spirit did. “Hannah, even in plowing and harvest, you need rest. Even in the busiest times of life—the times that would make the most sense for you to keep working—you must rest.”
Many of us probably grew up acknowledging Sunday as “the Lord’s Day,” but I’m not so sure that an equal number of us grew up with the idea of Sabbath rest. We were not under such law. We were “free” in Christ. But unlike a lot of people think, Sabbath isn’t rooted in archaic blue laws or spiritual legalism. It’s rooted in trust and faith. Because when you take a Sabbath, when you take time to rest, you express your faith in a God who works for you so you don’t have to. And you show that you trust Him enough to stop. Stop all the rushing. Stop all the worry. Stop all the chaos.
And you allow tomorrow take care of tomorrow so that you can do what you need to do most—nothing.
So that’s what we did this last Sunday after coming home from church. Despite having a messy house (no, I mean a disastrously messy house) and needing to have it cleaned by 3:00 the next day, my kids and I took the day off. McDonald’s, books, long naps, a walk around town—hey, I even got crazy and put up a tent in the middle of the living room floor just for the fun of it. All in an effort to teach them and myself that God expects us to relax and rest in Him. I want them not only to see a mommy who is driven to reach her goals, but a mommy who trusts Jesus enough to let Him be the One to get her there.
Because ultimately the stakes are that high. While Sabbath is about physical recuperation, it’s more than that. Sabbath is a lifestyle. Sabbath is gospel. It’s a view of the world that says I don’t have to work because Christ already did. I don’t have to fret and fuss and get my righteousness in order, because Christ already did. I can rest. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
And just so we won’t forget that, God reminds us once every seven days. Because in some sense too, Sabbath is practice—practice for that long-awaited, glorious day when there is no more work, no more tears, no more sighing. And so we learn to rest in Him today so that one day, we can rest in Him for all eternity.