These Days of Sabbath
by Rhonda Sittig
April 29, 2020
I have to confess, I’m sort of a busy-body, filling up my days to the brim. A Martha, not a Mary. There are few things I love more than a well crafted to-do list. Get it done. Check it off.
So in February, when I picked up John Mark Comer’s book, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, I was stopped short. He starts in on our frenetic modern lives, sharing how “hurry” is the enemy of our spiritual walk. And then he moves on describing Silence, Solitude, Sabbath, Simplicity and Slowing.
The whole way through this bright and engaging book, I thought, “When I finish reading this, I’m going to get my life in order: Slow down, celebrate joyful worshipful Sabbaths, live more simply . . . ” But no. I turned the last page, heaved a sigh, and went right back to my life on the run, with the nagging reminder that I knew it should be different, richer, better.
And then Covid-19 arrived and suddenly we were cloistered. There was silence and solitude and life became remarkably simple. I realized that in the middle of the dire pandemic with its fears and very real tragedies, God had also given us a true Sabbath, time to slow, to rest, to listen to His voice.
So now, I’m not jumping out of bed early to check my calendar and launch into my list. There’s quiet and calm. I’m reading through the New Testament in these weeks. This morning, the stoning of Stephen and his glorious faith to the end. I can sense God with me—Emmanuel—in a deeper way.
Instead of running off to MOPS or Bible Study or lunch with friends, I have time to pray for those people, to call, to really listen to their thoughts and lives. The people I love are, in some ways, dearer and closer than ever.
Life here at home with Larry is simple. Morning walks, cutting a rose in the yard to put on our table, a plain dinner together is an event! He even played Scrabble with me (and he hates playing games!). The pictures on the walls, the spread of a tablecloth, a pile of fresh folded laundry give me joy.
I know times are incredibly hard. I pray for our niece Michelle working day by day in a large busy hospital and for my dear friend Alyse with four small children, whose husband is a policeman and is out there in the thick of things. I think about our children trying to work from home and the constant care for little kids with no help. I think about New York and India and places where lives have been torn to pieces. So much loss, so many real fears.
But I’m trusting God’s hand in this. And I’m hoping the Sabbath of these days touches all our hearts and lives with what is true and real and eternal. He loves us and watches over us, knows our fears, our loss. He is enough in these uncertain days.
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
— Psalm 31:24
Rhonda is currently tucked in at home with her husband Larry—making it through these days with the help of morning reading and prayers, long neighborhood walks and FaceTime romps with grand-kids.