We have written extensively on the scriptural background of the Sabbath. For a more in-depth overview, go here. This post is more anecdotal.
This last week my wife forced me to go on vacation. I had decided to take a week off from work, but my plan was for more of a ‘staycation’, where I could get some things done around the house that needed done. Roughly translated, that meant that I would spend a day making a list of ‘all the things’ that needed to get done, then spend a day gathering ‘all the things’ that I needed in order to get ‘all the things’ done, then by the time I got maybe ‘one thing’ actually started, the week would be over and the cycle of guilt and regret would set in and I would be more miserable than I was before the ‘vacation’. I speak from many failed attempts at the ‘staycation’ concept.
This time my wife suggested rather pointedly that I needed a break from everything. So, we decided to rent a cabin and ‘unplug’ for a few days.
It was weird at first; there was no broadband internet, no cable or satellite tv. However, there WAS a nice porch with a bench swing and a nice view. We lugged in our suitcase, kicked our shoes off, turned off our phones and commenced the process of information, task and schedule withdrawal.
It took a few hours to settle in to this non-routine routine, but once it started, there was no turning back. We sat quietly for some time, then we started noticing little things, like how many different bird songs we could hear and how different the air smelled when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and warmed the pine needles that blanketed the yard. We listened to the sounds of the leaves as the breeze came and went. The next thing we knew, we started talking about YHVH, and the wonders of His creation. That conversation led to another, and before we realized it, we had our Bibles out talking about everything from Exodus to Psalms to Daniel to Revelation……and then it happened.
I realized that I was not worrying about anything. I didn’t care about the emails I was missing or the projects I’d have to schedule and complete next week. I was studying the Word, but I wasn’t studying FOR any purpose other than the sheer joy of the Word. Jess and I were not talking in order to SOLVE or FIX or PLAN anything; we were just enjoying each other’s company. It was like time stopped. I was truly at rest.
When we talk about ‘keeping Sabbath’ too many of our friends and family assume we are trying to find righteousness by observing rules. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Sabbath is a ‘gift’; We are the image of YHVH, and He rested – then gave us that day to completely rest both to remember Him and His work AND to remind us of the rest to come. Jess and I have been keeping Sabbath on Saturdays for a little over a year now, trying to understand this gift our Father gave us. While I decidedly did no ‘work’ on Sabbath, I wasn’t ‘resting’. Inside, I was worrying about the next day and feeling guilt about not getting things done. Even if I was studying the Word, I was doing it to prep for another Bible Study or work on one of our blog posts.
I’ll never forget that day of vacation when I learned what it meant to be truly at rest. It is my prayer that I can learn to trust YHVH so much that I can find that kind of peace not only on every Sabbath day, but also through all the other days of the week.