T h e H a p p y S a b b a t h
What is this Happy Sabbath? I pay attention to words and how they are used. Language is my love language. I've always paid attention to accents, intonation, and the kind of words people use to describe events, opportunities, emotions, and circumstances. Today, I woke up with a few words but they were loud, discouraging, and contributed to anxiety, doubt and worry. I woke up this Sabbath day anxious about our kids going back to school.
As soon as I realized that was the reason why I was anxious I began to pray, but praying quietly didn't work for me. Since we are still in CT I did not want to just cry out to The Lord and wake up my parents, husband, brother or even the kids resting. I got up, went to the van and cried out to Him. I decided to do what Peter encourages us to do in I Peter 5:7.
I called out to God and I know that He heard me. I didn't want much. I just needed His presence.
I didn't ask Him to fix what I was anxious about.
I just asked God to be with me.
God has no desire for us to be anxious! There are a few things I am sure about when it comes to The Lord. And living a life free of anxiety is one of those things I am convinced that He wants us to have. I am sure, like absolutely sure that He has no desire or plan for us to wrestle with anxiety, worry, doubt, fear or emotions that could cause an interruption of our faith in Him. There are way too many promises and/or hope-filled scriptures where God invites us to be fearless! I want to list a few of these for you as they have been life giving for me!
I usually hang out with a group of people on The Sabbath (Saturday). We tend to call ourselves Adventists. We meet up in a building, sing, encourage each other, laugh, hug, cry, eat, fellowship, pray, and listen to God's word poured out. We call this gathering 'going to church'. Our favorite greeting is "Happy Sabbath!" This Sabbath greeting is usually complimented with a smile, a hug and questions about how you've been since the last time they or you saw them. I have witnessed folks sharing that they have a need during one of these weekly meet-ups (church) and someone else says in so many words 'I got you!' We do this week after week. We hear and offer these Sabbath greetings multiple times throughout the day and I wonder 'are we really happy?' NOTE: This blog post is not exploring what being happy is or is not. I am exploring what it means to have a "Happy Sabbath".
I've heard Jews say "Shabbat Shalom". This greeting feels safer to me, because it essentially means that you hope the person you are saying it to has a peaceful Sabbath. It is not suggestive or even dismissive of the cares, worries and pain that folks walk into church with. The "Happy Sabbath" greeting does not intend to be dismissive, I am simply sharing that our cultural and typical greetings can miss the mark but they are an entry point! Shabbat Shalom is a prayer; it's like saying "Hey, I pray that you experience the fullness of the presence of God so much that it rewards you with PEACE!"
What is The Happy Sabbath? Are we happy because it is The Sabbath? Are we happy because Jesus is? What are folks happy about? And finally, do I need to be genuinely happy in order to experience a Happy Sabbath? The last question is the one I am wrestling with God about. After all, I woke up with anxiety this morning. I prayed. I cried out to The Lord and I shared, released and unleashed my anxiety into God's care just like 1 Peter 5:7, and the circumstance is still there. God did not miraculously and immediately give me the materials I was anxious about not having. But God gave me His presence through His written word!
GOD IS ENOUGH! HIS WORD IS ENOUGH!
The bible is a redeemable gift that God has blessed us with. Treasures that money could not attempt to buy. And today I can say that even with disappointments, discomfort, desires unmet, and uncertainty that I am determined to have The Happy Sabbath! Last night I finished writing a blog about resting with God on The Sabbath. The truth is, when I cast my cares on God - I get to rest! WHOOOOOHOOOOOO! Now that is worth shouting about! The issues did not disappear. The fact is, what I am hoping for right now did not miraculously appear but that disappointment does not have to disrupt The Happy Sabbath. I am insistent on experiencing another level of faith, hope, and love free from anxiety in Christ. Today, right now I am in full resistance! The Armor of God is on and I refuse to take it off. I am focused on staying focused on The One, whose very presence purifies me, encourages me, strengthens me, has purposed me, will keep me and give me The Happy Sabbath.
I can't create The Happy Sabbath that's God's job!
Today I pray that you experience The Happy Sabbath, not as a cliche or cultural pleasantry that people just say with very little meaning at times. I pray that your cup overflows. I pray that you pour out your anxiety, fear, worry, and doubt on God's table so that God can sort through it and figure it out. I pray that you allow yourself the vulnerability of being in God's presence so that God can exchange His Yoke for your burden just like it says in
Matthew 11:28-30! I pray that you don't stop casting your burdens on Christ until you experience His Yoke that is light & easy. Until you too can experience The Happy Sabbath!
The Happy Sabbath has nothing to do with what we have materialistically, it has nothing to do with our bills being paid, if we are actually happy with our lives, achievements or relationships. The Happy Sabbath is because God is. That is pretty abstract, I know. But I pray with everything that you really get this concept. I pray that you get the fact that you don't need to have happy things happening in order to experience The Happy Sabbath!