Last weekend was all about rest. It was much needed. It was sweet. It was also short. I knew it would be, so I savored it like a dark chocolate-covered, caramel sprinkled with sea salt. Like my favorite chocolate treat, it was special because it was so short and so sweet.
Yet, rest is something that God knows we all need and He made us to need it regularly. He modeled rest for us in the act of creating – not because He needed the break on the 7th day, but because He knew we would need it. He also knew we would need reminding. The Scriptures are chocked full of rituals and rites prescribed for God’s people to help them remember – His faithful provision, His perfect sovereignty and His assured promises.
This afternoon, as I am on the eve of jumping back into a busy, school-week calendar. I’ve got to start some laundry and enter some grades. The pressures of my job and the responsibilities of my home are already weighing heavy on my thoughts – yet, I am prayerfully, holding all of those things at bay. Why?
Rest and Reminding. Sabbath – intentionally stopping, purposefully being still and decidedly knowing He is God.
Before I started teaching a little over a year ago, I worked at a church, among spiritual people at a place of worship. In many ways I was sheltered from the “real” world. Expectations and realities were different. Now, I know I need this weekly respite – to rest and to be reminded.
I have not ceased going to church and I still practice a Sunday siesta – but since I have been teaching in a public middle school the spiritual warfare I find myself facing has reached another level. It is so easy to get absorbed in my to-do lists that I quickly forget who and Whose I am. Carrying this truth with me throughout the week, definitely begins with the One on Sunday I seek.
Gathering with like-minded believers, singing hymns/choruses steeped in deep truth, and sitting under solid teaching where the gospel intersects practical application – have all become weekly necessities in my physical well-being, my mental clarity and my spiritual growth.
However, the rest and remembering that I need, that I crave – doesn’t just happen because I drag myself out of bed, put on some nice clothes and drive myself to our little church. I read my Bible before I get out of bed. I listen to worship music as I shower and dress. I pray. I pray for God to prepare my heart – show any offensive ways and to lead me into the way everlasting. (Psalm 139)
As I purposefully engage in the Sunday school lesson, the Spirit nudges – affirming, confirming, prompting. My mind absorbing the truth in a new way or convicting me of sins of commission and/or omission. Rich lyrics with strong theology demand my attention during worship as I continue to battle my thoughts and refocus my attention back onto why I am in this pew, doing these things and need to be here.
Rest and reminding. I intentionally use this last day of my weekend and the first day of the week to rest in and be reminded of what Jesus has done for me. It is only through this rest in Him and this reminder of what He has done that I can face, I can confidently move into and I can assuredly conquer whatever lies ahead of me tonight, tomorrow and this week.
I used to think the crucifixion and resurrection were just the “best” stories of the Bible, but now I know that they are the central truths of the scripture, without which, the rest falters, fades and fails. I must remember that without His death and being raised to life – I am still dead in my sin. I have no reason for living this life and there is no hope for any good in any version of any future. I can rest in what Jesus has accomplished for me, how He loves me and what His promises mean to me.
Yes, last week’s rest was good. SO good. And done for the glory of God – I look forward to another time maybe even in that same place – but… in the mean time, every week I will intentionally sabbath. I will rest and I will remember.
Now, if you’ll excuse me – it is time for me to trust the God will get done all the things that really need to get done AND take a little nap.
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