Schedules stopped. Travel derailed. Businesses halted. Visits postponed. For many, this season of “stay-at-home” has turned our routines upside down and sideways. Dads usually away are present—now for weeks—around the house. Students at school have become students in school from home. Many moms who would normally scurry to work or the regular routines errands out and about to care for their homes are landlocked.
Certainly, these freezes of schedule aren’t true for everyone. Many essential workers are making the country go, keeping the rest of us well, or seeing the stores are stocked. Many are working harder than ever and need our prayers and encouragement.
What is true for all of us though, is life as we knew it changed a few weeks ago. Life stopped so much so that sports organizations walked away from collective billions to social distance. Governmental leaders closed all types of businesses. Limits have been placed on the number of people who can gather in one place.
All these changes have had an interesting effect on my social media feeds. I’ve seen post after post of hikes through the woods or card games at the table or projects around the house. Families are together more than ever before.
Here’s a question I’m pondering and striving to answer personally, “Did it really take a virus to make us slow down?” What I do know is that time with my family these past few weeks (and the next few) are a gift. What I do know is that God designed us to work and to rest. What I do know is this season is inviting—actually imploring—many of us to rest.
2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2:2-3 ESV)
8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. (Exodus 20:8-10 ESV)
Biblical rest (or Sabbath) has a variety of interpretations, and we don’t have space to address them all here. But we can draw a few practical implications from the Sabbath command to cease from our work that speak to right where we are now.
First, when we rest, we honor God by acknowledging His rest after creation. Rest is an act of worship when we chose it recognizing God’s rest. We can intentionally chose in portions of this season to “rest” worshipfully. In a walk around the neighborhood or on an open trail, take in the beauty of God’s creation and praise Him for it. Or write a prayer of gratitude for His ease on your schedule.
Second, when we rest, we recognize our limitations. God didn’t design us to burn the candle at both ends indefinitely. The Sabbath command reminded Israel that their bodies weren’t designed to go and go and go. Intentional rest honors our bodies as God’s gifts to us and cares for them with a healthy perspective on our abilities and limitations.
Third, when we rest, we refuse to make money or time a god. One of the reasons for the American pace of life is a chasing after money and success. Many in our nation act as if Wall Street never sleeps. And in doing so, they’ve traded worship of God for worship of the financial security or power or prestige that money can give. However, those are mere illusions. The halt to so many economic sectors in our nation and worldwide has unsettled many, and reminded us all that financial security is fleeting. When we rest from our work intentionally, giving away dollars to make, deals to secure, or connections that would benefit our bottom line, we realign our allegiance Godward affirming His place above our things.
Fourth, when we rest, we slow down to see one another rightly. Husband, do you know how hard your wife works to keep the house in order while you are at work? Child, do you see the effort your teachers are putting in to make school work as well as possible? Wife, do you recognize how diligently your husband longs to provide for your family well-being? Parent, do recognize the strengths (and limitations) of your student because you are watching them do school from home? Family, are you noticing the needs, expectations, and longings of one another because you actually have the chance to do so? Church member, do you see how important relationships are with one another when they are broken away?
This season is a gift to many. The change up in routine invites us to pause, reflect, rest. It’s vital. Are you resting?