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Quarantine Quandaries: The Sabbath

When I try to wrap my mind about this thing that we are all living through, I have to admit, it makes me tired. I don’t know what to say. When words don’t come, I find it best to be silent. And that’s what I’ve been learning to do for the past 56 days.

The best 56 days of my life

Fifty-six days ago, I started one of those Bible reading plans on this app on my phone. The plan- “Bible in 90 Days.” Now, I haven’t told many people about this challenge, because, the few that I have told have not understood why anyone would want to do this. But let me tell you, it’s been the best 56 days of my life.

I’ve used a daily Bible for the past 15 years or so, and in about 30-45 minutes per day you can read the entire Bible in a year. Obviously, doing it in 90 days takes a little longer each day. But not as long as you’d think. Now, understand, I’m not stopping and looking up cross references, consulting commentaries, or even doing that much highlighting. I’m just reading God’s Word. His textbook, His message to me. And it’s amazing. By the way, day 57 begins with Jeremiah 24, just in case you’re wondering.

Reading straight through as I’ve been doing has allowed me to get a really unique perspective on the actual message (or messages) in God’s Word. It has helped me to see a little more clearly the things that are important to God.

What’s important

One theme that I think is particularly relevant to what we are going through right now is the theme of the Sabbath. The Sabbath seems to be a big deal to God. He created and observed the Sabbath- a day of rest- during Creation Week. And He instructed us to do the same.

Not all modern Bible teachers believe that the Sabbath is relevant to the Church. There’s too much work to do to bring people to Jesus. We are to work the Harvest as we have opportunity. We are freed from the Law of keeping special days.

Is this why we’re so sick?

One of the things I’ve been thinking about, in light of what I believe God is telling me about the Sabbath (even before the quarantine began) is how I have worked my whole life and rarely really rested. I have worked until my body and my mind and my spirit were all exhausted and I could not go any farther so I would simply stop and call a period of idleness “rest.”

Years of doing this has wreaked havoc on my own health. And research shows that much of the modern workforce faces a myriad of health problems- a lowered ability to fight infection is just one of those problems. We’ve run ourselves into the ground adding more and more to our schedules; and we’ve raised our children to do the same.

Rest defined

Maybe the Lord is not telling you to rest, but I feel He is emphatically instructing me to do so. In fact, I’ve been feeling this conviction for at least 30 of the past 56 days. The thing is, how do we do that? With trying to figure out how to teach our kids at home, trying to navigate teleworking everyday, or, for those who can’t telework, the stress of perhaps not having a paycheck for a few weeks… how can we rest?

First of all remember- Idleness is not rest. Idleness leads to depression, increases anxiety, and makes it easy to fall into the temptation to waste hours scrolling through social media, binge watching mindless television, or worse, feeding our minds with rumors and statistics that are scary.

Rest should include some degree of physical stillness, but true rest involves what Scripture calls rest for our souls. There are things that feed our spirits, that soothe our souls by allowing us to step away from the circumstances that bring worry and anxiety. This isn’t about hiding our heads in the sand, it’s about relinquishing control to a God Who is already in control.

A different lifestyle

Let me encourage you to use this time to first meditate on how in-balance your life is. You know if you’re too busy. And if that’s the case, what a great time to examine your priorities.

For some of us, this is the perfect time to rekindle our passion for our homes, for our families, or even for a hobby.

It’s gonna fly by!

Right now, it seems like this thing is going to last forever! It may be awhile, but we all know that time flies by us. So don’t miss the opportunity you have to figure out the place the principle of the Sabbath should have in your life.

And every day remember to trust the Lord. He’s got a plan, and you’re part of it.

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