“Sabbath is not meant to get ahead of the week, but to put the upcoming week in God’s hands.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 2, 2021
By Guest Writer: Rebekah Coons
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-30
In many ways I’m a newbie in the journey of motherhood. With ten years under my belt, I still wake up each morning and question my ability to “get it right.” However, the lesson I continue to learn in big and small ways, is that in Christ are ALL the answers and more times than not, he uses a motherhood moment to draw me closer to himself. So, settle in as I share one of these moments from not too long ago that forever changed my walk with the Lord and showed my family a new way to live.
About four years ago, I found myself laid out in bed with a scary cough and barely enough energy to walk across the room. At the time, I was in the deep trenches of motherhood with three little boys ages 5, 3, and 18 months, and a husband who frequently traveled. This “forced rest” (as I liked to call it!) came in the form of pneumonia. I would be knocked off my feet for the next six weeks with the doctor’s strict orders to not only take my antibiotic, but to “rest”, as that was the only way to fully recover. Little did I know that the Lord was going to use this recovery time to not only heal my body, but also my soul.
Dallas Willard states, “You’re a soul made by God, made for God and made to need God, which means we were not made to be self-sufficient.” As I progressed through my slow recovery, with more down time than I’d had in years, the Lord graciously held up a mirror to my life. I began to realize my exhaustion turned illness didn’t come from my three little boys, though they were definitely work! It didn’t come from a lack of resources or perceived lack of help; it came from my view of my need for God. Specifically, I was running against the rhythm He had created for mankind, the Sabbath. Knowing I would need this day of rest, God modeled this for me, creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh. This was not because He needed to rest, but because He was showing me that I needed to rest. In His kindness, He had already shown me how to reorient my weary soul.
As I took stock, I realized that the Sabbath had become sloppy in our family. Though we never missed a Sunday at church, my husband and I found ourselves squeezing in a grocery run, loads of laundry, work emails and “stuff” to fill our Sunday afternoons. In our attempt to get ahead of the week, we missed the opportunity to put the week in the hands of God. Things had to change! So began our journey to keeping the Sabbath as a family. I say journey because as simple as it sounds, it takes practice and intentionality as a young family to keep the Sabbath.
So, how does this actually work? I’ve learned that we as a family begin preparing for the Sabbath the six days leading up to it! Meaning, my Sunday grocery run was moved to Mondays, house clean-up and laundry needed for school on Monday became a family task on Friday afternoon. Computers, email/social media, calendars that were tended to throughout the week, got shelved at sundown on Saturday night. Though so many loose ends and to-dos enter the Sabbath with us, the simple act of transferring those to God’s hands and trusting he is in control of time and outcomes set the tone not just for Sunday but for the entire week.
What we’ve also discovered is that with all the clutter and chores to the side, we get to enjoy and take delight in God’s day. For us, “delight” takes the form of family worship, a simple lunch and “rest time” after church, a leisurely family football game at the park, puzzles by the fireplace, or simply a lazy afternoon at home. It always ends with the infamous “daddy dinner” which translates to lots of laughs and grilling or leftovers served up in the kitchen by Dad while Mom takes a night off from kitchen duty. We’ve seen other families light candles to mark the beginning of the Sabbath, take an early dinner picnic to the park or bake together, while others have Sunday Sundaes each week! There are many ways to “delight” in God’s day, and it is endearing to discover them as a family.
Though I still have so much to learn about the Sabbath and leading from a place of peace and surrender, it has been humbling to watch the Lord use this motherhood moment to not only restore rest but point me to my continual need for Him. Isaiah 58:13-14 says it best, “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth.”
Heavenly Father, help me to rest, worship, learn and love on the Sabbath, in Jesus’ name, amen.
How can I enjoy the Sabbath as God would have me rest and enjoy Him?
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