I just dropped my daughter off at school for her last final exam of the year. I certainly miss the prospect of summer vacation – but I do not miss taking tests or lengthy term papers. Even now, several decades after my last final exam, I still am prone to nightmares in which I show up to class completely unprepared for a test – or I have forgotten to attend the class entirely and only remember sometime during the last week. I understand this is a fairly universal dream, but it doesn’t make it any less a nightmare
Fear and anxiety are equal opportunity tormentors. Some of us seem to deal with stress more easily than others. But, anyone who ventures out of their house in the morning (and even those who do not) will inevitably bump up against fear at some point. And, of course, fear leads to all sorts of other unpleasant things, like anger and depression.
The Bible talks about “a peace that passes human understanding” (Phil. 4:7). The kind of peace that is offered to us by God is not something we can manufacture for ourselves. We can’t just say, “Okay, from now on I’m just not going to let all this bother me!” If it were that easy, we would all be happy and content all the time.
The reality is life can be stressful. Work, family, relationships, money – all these things add up. We sometimes wonder how we even manage to keep our sanity. And yet, in the midst of all this, Jesus says to us, “Be not anxious about these things… Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt. 6:33)
One of the ways we seek God’s kingdom is by following a pattern established in the very creation of our world: honoring the Sabbath. One day a week is set aside for rest and worship – even as God himself rested on the seventh day. Interestingly enough, seven days of work and worry are actually less productive than six with one day of rest. God intends for us to rest in him and to find our peace and strength in that relationship.
The worship of God in the community of the faithful and the study of God’s word are the primary ways we have each week of remembering the Sabbath. As we enter into the summer season, may we do so even more committed to maintaining our connection with God and with the peace only God can provide.