The Sabbath Surprise

I don’t know why, but I’m often surprised when my parents are right.  If I’m in a cranky mood and complaining about a problem, I hate it when my mom tells me the remedy–my problem is too complicated, and she can’t possibly know how to fix it.  But sure enough, she DOES know how to fix it!  Whether the problem be sickness, stains, or food, Mom seems to know the answer.  My dad doesn’t offer advice quite as much as my mom, but when asked, he always has a suggestion for whatever financial difficulty I bring to him.  Between the two of them, they are a wealth of knowledge and experience, and the advice they offer is offered clearly to benefit me and for no other reason.

Likewise, my heavenly Father has given me tons of advice, and for some strange reason, I’m always a little surprised when He is right.  Now since He is God, I don’t doubt that He knows the answer; I just haven’t taken some pieces of advice as seriously as others.

For years, I have grown up knowing that God commanded we keep the Sabbath holy.  He rested after six days of creation, and likewise, we are supposed to take one day a week to rest.  However, I never really understood this command.  I thought keeping the Sabbath day holy merely meant going to church, and my family always fulfilled this command.  Whether we were at home or on vacation, we didn’t miss Mass.

As I grew in my faith and knowledge of the Bible, I began to understand that those I read about in the Old Testament followed burdensome, strict laws concerning what they could and couldn’t do during the Sabbath, one reason Jesus rocked the boat so often when He came on the scene.  Therefore, my view of the Sabbath changed; I realized that back then people weren’t supposed to work, but they were legalistic.  I could do homework or chores or whatever I needed to do, as long as I went to church.

Within the last year, I revisited this idea of the Sabbath.  A friend had mentioned to me that her pastor gave a sermon explaining the importance for everyone to take a true day of rest, no matter what day of the week that day may occur.  After talking to her, I decided that I, too, would take a true Sabbath.  The problem was that I could never decide on the day–sometimes it was Saturday, sometimes it was Sunday, and the day seemed to be dependent on everyone else’s plans.  The truth of the matter is that I didn’t do the preparation necessary to have my Sabbath day of rest.

A few Sundays ago, my pastor gave a sermon on the Sabbath, and I knew I needed finally to obey God.  God didn’t give me this command so that I would have one more rule to follow; He gave this command as a blessing to me.  I work hard all day long, all week, and normally, by the end of the week, I’m ready to hurt someone.  By resting, giving up laundry and other housework for a day, I’m enjoying my family.  I’m remembering why I cherish my husband and adore my children.  I’m approaching God with a renewed state of mind, ready to worship, when I go to church.  And I approach Monday, fresh, ready to begin again.

Matt and I agreed that we would take our Sunday Sabbaths seriously, and we’ve had to prepare in order to do so.  Sometimes I’m up late Friday night cleaning bathrooms, and on Saturday Matt and I work hard, but when we go to bed Saturday night, we can smile.  We know we are waking up for church and then a true day of rest with the family.  We make pancakes for brunch, and we do whatever is pleasing to us that day.  I’ve made bread the last three weeks, something that under a legalistic understanding of the Sabbath wouldn’t be allowed, but a task I allow myself to do because I enjoy it.

Sundays had never excited me before because it had always been a day just like the other six.  Now, I yearn for my Sundays.  And at 30 years old, I find that I’m slightly surprised at how right my heavenly parent is.