Lenten Sabbath Days of Rest

“Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy.” – Exodus 20.8

About a year ago doctors discovered a mass in my lung. I was diagnosed with all sorts of illnesses from tuberculosis to lung cancer to breast cancer to histoplasmosis – a fungal lung infection. I was sick for four months before they began chemotherapy. I kept on working as a children’s chaplain until my dislocated ribs forced me off my feet. I hadn’t allowed myself the grace I needed to deal with how sick I had become. A week into my short-term disability leave I realized I needed to take advantage of my time off. So I began to experiment with different kinds of Sabbath Days of Rest.

I had entered into a season of quiet days filled with reading and naps, and evenings filled with family dinners, special conversations with close friends, conversations with God, and early bedtimes. We played board games and cards. We prayed and worshiped God together as a family in ways we had never experienced. Our home became our sanctuary, and we discovered times of fellowship and worship that began to heal my body in ways only God could do.

As I learned to honor my body with the rest it needed, my lungs healed. After three months of chemotherapy, the doctor declared my lungs completely recovered. Although most people who have histoplasmosis need continual care for years, he declared with much surprise that I did not need any follow-up care. I contribute my healing success to my Sabbath Days of Rest. I believe physicians and chemotherapy aided in my healing, but it was just as important for me to care for my body through rest, prayer, and family fellowship.

My hope for you this Lenten Season is that you will take time to discover the refreshment of Sabbath Days of Rest. God teaches us in his commandments that he desires for us to set time apart to rest. When we take time for Sabbath Days of Rest, we honor God with our body and give God the opportunity to refresh us as only God can do!

Recommended Activity: Create a “Rule of Life” just for Lent.

Recommended Reading:

Barton, Ruth Haley. Sacred Rhythms: Arranging our Lives for Spiritual Transformation. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

Foster, Richard J. Celebration of Discipline: The Path To Spiritual Growth. New York: HarperCollins , 1998.

Scazzero, Peter. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in your Life in Christ. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006.

—. The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship that Actually Changes Lives. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003.


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