Beware, keep alert, for you do not know when the time will come. Mark 13:28-37 I used to fight sleep; especially when I was trying to get something done. But the reality is that I’m just not that effective or creative when I am tired. I want to give God all that I have, receive all that God has to give and be ready when the time comes. The only way I can do this is to take the proper rest and trust God’s timing.
…But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ Mark 4:35-41 It never fails! Finally a moment of rest, you lay down and let the movement of the ship lull you to sleep and suddenly the alarm goes off. Of course it’s only a drill but since you are required to participate you get up to find masses of people rushing to the predetermined deck for further instruction in case of a real emergency. I can only image what the real emergency would feel like however, I would hope that I had enough faith to be calm and allow God’s peace to guide my actions. Traveling 680 feet below sea level and surrounded by hills, some as high as 2000 feet; the Sea of Galilee is naturally subject to quickly rising storms because of the different temperature and pressure changes. Figuratively, we too can find our selves in the midst of these kinds of storms, the ones that rise without warning and which we had no contribution. Take heart and know that with Christ, we are in the eye of that storm , the center in which rest can be found and peace be still.
Taking time to honor Sabbath is critical in this journey and should be an act of our will. One Advent season I had been completely busy; right up to day we packed the car to drive across the state to visit my oldest son’s godfather for the Christmas holiday. Four hours into the trip the pain in my back began at the first rest stop. I could barely move. I survived the nine-hour trip. However, as I finally allowed my body to rest I was in excruciating pain. Although I had pneumonia, I didn’t have to stay over night at the hospital. It would be one month before my energy level was restored to full strength, but I got the rest I needed. Only then did I more fully understand the importance of taking care of the self: physically, spiritually and emotionally. Some of us can get by on 4 hours while others need as much as 8-10 hours of sleep, but sleep and rest are two different states. Sleep involves immobilization of the body. Rest is separation (setting aside) from physiological, emotional, or mental activity, in order that one may relax (calm down, unwind, let go) and be restored. Too often we don’t remember regular Sabbath and keep it Holy. Take the time to be still, for in that stillness God speaks (if we are willing to hear) and his Spirit will nourish and restore the soul.
Psalm 23 He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside the still waters; he restores my soul.
Psalm 92 – A Song for the Sabbath Day
It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.