Learning to Rest: The Miracle of God
The Sabbath is unique amongst life’s rhythms and is probably the most health producing observance we can adhere to. Unfortunately, for many of us, Sunday has become a day like any other day, or Sabbath observances are no more than a set of legalistic rules.
It was a great relief when I realized that Jesus recognized rest as an essential life rhythm. He encouraged his followers by saying “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give your rest” (Matthew 11:28). Regular sleep and Sabbath both reconnect us to this refreshing and renewing rhythm. A good night’s rest seems to boost our immune system and recent research suggests an afternoon siesta increases our productivity so much that we actually accomplish more than when we work all day.
For the Jewish philosopher Abraham Heschel the inauguration of Sabbath is a miracle. No such day existed until it appeared full-blown in the Hebrew Bible. It is the only sacred rhythm with no counterpart in the natural world. For him, “The essence of the world to come is Sabbath eternal.”
This should be the culmination and goal of our week when we celebrate the glimpses we have caught of God’s new world and rest in the satisfaction of what we have accomplished over the last week that bares the fingerprints of God.
- First we celebrate the joy of our restored fellowship with God.
- Second we celebrate our inclusion in that great international community that is Christ’s body. In the process, we can rejoice in the ways God has used our gifts and talents in the last week to heal the sick, feed the hungry, preach good news to the poor and bring glimpses of God’s eternal world into the lives of others.
- Third we celebrate the glorious created world that God has provided for us to live in. This is a great day to go for a hike or get out into the garden.
Imagine how our priorities would change if we had this perspective. No wonder Jesus healed on the Sabbath and criticized the legalisms and restrictive rules the Pharisees inflicted on the people that robbed them of their joy and freedom. He wasn’t downplaying the importance of Sabbath as a holy day, but was bringing the Jews back to God’s perspective. In the process he gave them breathtaking glimpses of the eternal world in which all will one day be made whole.
If Jesus doesn’t give us heavy burdens to carry, where do our stressed out lifestyles come from? To become a follower of Jesus is an invitation to a life with a different rhythm. Get away on a prayer retreat with a friend or your spouse. Examine how you prioritize your time and discover God’s sacred rhythms for yourself. Invite God to open a doorway to a more festive less stressed way of life that is fulfilling and not exhausting.
What about you? Is the rhythm of your life exhausting you? Or have you been able to find refreshing and renewal in celebrating the Sabbath?
You can ask God’s Spirit regulate the rhythm in your life.
The minute you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, God’s Spirit took up residence in your life. He longs to fill you and to empower you. Hand Him the reins of your life today– ask Him to set the pace. He will give you moment-by-moment wisdom and peace.
Below is a suggested prayer. As you pray, remember that God cares not so much about your words as the intent of your heart.
Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.