In 44 years of life, I have never seen anything like this – the complete shutdown of all aspects of society. No segment of society is unaffected by COVID-19. I am working from home for the first time in my life, no churches are meeting in a building, March Madness is canceled, schools are shuttered, and traffic is eerily clear.
I find it very profound that this is all happening during Lent, that six week period where Christians prepare for Easter by solemn services, prayer, repentance, and self-denial. God appreciates our humble attempts to forgo caffeine or TV during Lent but this year he may be forcing us to sacrifice much more. He may be forcing us into an extended Sabbath.
If you are unfamiliar with Sabbath, it is the ceasing of work for one day, usually Sunday, to worship, rest, and learn to trust God with our time and energy. The idea in Sabbath keeping is that we follow God’s example of resting on the seventh day of creation and make a “radical statement that we are not God, and we trust him to hold the world together.”
Those that do not practice Sabbath can face a terrible toll. Peter Scazzero, in his book The Emotionally Healthy Leader, says, “If we do not keep the Sabbath, we are incurring a deficit and God himself will stop us, through a crisis, a health issue, an emergency, or anything that gets our attention.”
Has God stopped us to get our attention?
I am very limited in knowing what God is up to but I can tell you that I have struggled in the past two weeks to accept my inactivity. I have struggled surrendering my time and agenda. I have struggled losing the routines that give me a sense of control over my life. I have struggled not being king over my little kingdom.
God is certainly using this disruption to get my attention; to cling to him for my next move even if that move is to do nothing. I look around my house and see the people that are the most precious to me and remember that they need me and I need them. I come to grips with my tendency to live out of a sense of scarcity rather than abundance. These are all lessons that I need to learn and work on and I would not be working on them right now if it wasn’t for this extended Sabbath that we are all in.
I want to lean into this time; learn to rest; learn to trust; and let God be in charge and receive this gift of Sabbath that can come in no other way.
How is God getting your attention during this extended Sabbath? Have you committed this time to him or are you still clinging to your own wants and stubbornness? How might this Sabbath get you to Grow Up?