CAN YOU STAND THE SILENCE?
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbathto the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11
I can tell you from my personal experience that it is very difficult to spend time in silence with God and away from the world. We are all conditioned to take in every aspect of life that is going on around us, and the older that I get, the faster and faster life happens. I know that I am not the only one who says that I wished that I could have another day of the week so that I could breathe or that I wished that there were more hours in a day so that I could honestly take the time I need to get things done. That would never happen. Let's all be honest. If we had another day or more time we would just do what we could to fill it with more things that cause our day to be chaos. We are all constantly taking the time that we have and trying to fit EVERYTHING in the world into this tiny fixed space. And we truly wonder why we have anxiety and stress issues. The world is filled with opportunities and we have such a consumer attitude that we struggle to face the truth that we have to make the space that we need to get our hearts, minds and souls right with God.
God has already given us this space. As we talk about the essentials of life that we need to survive, it is not a surprise that sleep/rest is one of them. I mean we all know that if we are able to get 8 hours of sleep that our bodies will be rejuvenated and revived for the next day, right? Wrong. Actually, depending on our age and our need, some of us are capable of
finding the complete rest our body needs in 6 hours. Others may need 10 hours. So there is really a guesstimate of the time we need to rejuvenate our bodies based on our lifestyle. However, 8 hours is the average time that we need. Doctors and health nutritionists say that we can basically go about 5 days max without really good sleep before our bodies begin to fall apart in one way or another. We face these problems where certain brain functions and possibly organs will begin to revolt and shut down doing their basic jobs that help to keep us alive. The longest recorded person to go without sleep was a 17 year old who was paid to go without sleep or rest for 11 days. Needless to say, it completely shut down his body and the real fact was that it caused some irreversible effects to his body. I say all of this because our spiritual bodies are in need of rest as well. When we are in need of spiritual rest, we call this sabbath. An opportunity to shut down all that we are doing and spend time focusing on God and our own spiritual nourishment. The very first example that we see of Sabbath rest comes in the creation story itself. It showed this example that God created everything in six days and on the seventh say, the Sabbath day He rested. Now, I know that many of you are asking how in the world does God need rest? Well the reality is the fact that God was showing us an example of how to take care of our lives both physically and mentally. As an essential to survive, we have to be willing to step away from all of the schedules and the chaos and spend some honest time in silence with God. Resting our brains and slowing down our lives in order that we can truly listen to His voice and follow God's path for our lives. It is a NECESSITY that we all shrug our shoulders at I'm sure, but don't you think if God was able to rest that we should too?
I know, this is the pot calling the kettle black, but one thing that I am sure of, this is something that ALL of us need and if we cannot figure out how to do it, then we need to stop and make it a top priority. I mean we are watching Moses take the time and teach God's people this valuable lesson through one of the Ten Commandments. Recognize, this is another example where the Finger of God literally took the time and physically wrote this on a tablet for us to pay attention to. We are called to take sabbath and shut down our lives for a time of renewal and refreshment of the soul. We cannot continue to carry the heavy burdens of each day with us and not truly find a way to release the baggage that we carry each week. We have to be willing to allow it to be something that we plan first and not something that we plan with whatever time that we have left over. God wants our intentionality and our best not our leftovers. If God wrote this as part of the Top 10, I imagine that it was something that God really wanted emphasized in our lives. We see this all through out the scriptures as it relates to our work and our rest. How can we truly be fully ready to serve if we cannot find the time that we need to step back, take a breath and find sabbath. Did you hear that Jason, yeah I know... I am just as guilty as you are guys. I am just saying that we all need to work together to find this time to just sit with God and replenish our soul. We need to find the time to empty our minds and slow down our pace so that we can truly see God's amazing intentions for our lives.
So this week, I hope to give us some opportunity to really step into this idea of personal Sabbath. I am praying that I am able to walk through this myself as well. It is not something that I want to just post information and never use. I believe that Sabbath is life giving and I hope and pray that we take the time to make it an instrumental part of our every day life. I know that there are always days where we will find ourselves battling to find that time, but we have to be intentional and give it to God first and allow God to help set the rest of our pace. I know that might seem so out of place for all of us, but I still believe that if God set it as an example for us to follow, we should be willing to follow His lead. I just hope and pray that maybe this week can be a beginning of a new pattern for all of us. I hope that we are not afraid of the silence but we are desperately seeking it for our spiritual growth. Silence can truly be a gift from God as we have talked about in prior blogs, but it really is a step of
obedience in which we are willing to sacrifice the time God is requiring of us to be in community with Him. I guess what I am saying is if the God of all creation is asking to have an audience with us, why are we doing everything to make sure that does not happen? Would it not be in our best interest to move heaven and earth and find a time to build community with the God who just wants to spend time building us up. I guess I see it more as an earthly Father. When my girls were young, we had time as parents nurturing, protecting and holding them. As they got older, I noticed that a lot of that time began to shift to times where they didn't need anything at all and so they would disappear into their rooms and do what they deemed important in their lives. I found myself desiring to rebuild that connection so that we could have a stronger bond and relationship and not just one when they were in need of something. I get it God... I need to come out of my room where I have closed the door and surrounded myself with all the things I deemed as the most important thing I needed for my day. I need to break away and find a time to reconnect with you and hear your voice. I need to step into your love and experience the things that I know I need but I am unwilling to make a priority. I see it God... Help me slow down and enjoy that time you want to pour into my life.