“Lock down,” “quarantine,” “shelter in place” have become too familiar for hard-working, independent Americans. But what if we see this pandemic, not just as a sweeping disease, but also as an opportunity? An opportunity to renew.
Though this confinement is lasting long, what if we dare to embrace this time as a “sabbath”?
Sabbath was designed by God as a blessing for His people. It encompasses rest, worship, connection, provision, and gratitude. While not sabbath fulfilment, Covid-19 allows for an unwanted opportunity to incorporate these sabbath lessons. How?
Cease from Work
Some of you may recoil at these words remembering your recent layoff. Or perhaps you twitch with anxiety as your business doors remain “closed.” My heart goes out to you who are suffering from such circumstances. We were made to work. Work provides what we need to sustain ourselves and live comfortably. However, sabbath requires we cease from work. The Hebrew word for sabbath means to “cease” work in order to “rest.” Americans are not known for rest; we are known for production. Our society resists rest; while work is necessary, so is resting.
Rest & Enjoy
When was the last time – prior Covid-19 – that you painted, wrote, cherished a simple walk in nature, or just took a moment to breathe?
For my part, I’ve been able to draw three pictures, revamp our yards, publish my poetry book, and work on my writing which is always put off for “when I have time.”
I somehow deem art of lesser importance than my “to-do” list. Perhaps your enjoyment comes in the form of building a table or baking bread. All creative acts require time, but America has monetized time making even a nap seem irresponsible. This drives Americans to the bitter brink of burnout.
Instead, Scripture reveals a rhythm of rest modeled by God Himself during creation. He worked six days and rested the seventh. Are we able to embrace such a pace? Can we invest not in financial gain but in mental, emotional, and spiritual flourishing? Can we restore balance?
Worship & Rely
Worship is our spirit’s response to God’s Spirit and Word. This requires trust when we cannot see the result. Sabbath fosters trust as we are forced to rely on God’s provision. The “just shall walk by faith and not by sight” (Hab. 2:4). Faith is not blind. It is based on the proven character of God. Still, trust and faith are terrifying.
Trusting allows us to more gladly embrace our existing blessings. During this time of deprivation, we still have many blessings. Countless times recently I’ve heard someone claim, “I’ll never take _______ for granted again.” I pray we won’t.
While Covid-19 is unlike sabbaths in Scripture, we can practice and receive sabbath lessons and blessing just the same. Covid-19 will come to an end; stores will reopen; sports will resume; gatherings will rejoin. Please don’t miss this chance to find the much-needed balance sabbath can provide. Embrace renewal. Stay revived.