A year ago I was, unbeknownst to me, in the final week of my career at Wells Fargo Insurance. I would spend the coming weekend in the hospital, and eventually be diagnosed with an illness that would change everything about how I did life. Everything. I never saw it coming.
As I look back at the past year, it is with some sadness, still, over what was lost, but also with great hope and anticipation. Really! As I look back I see a rough road that I walked, a lot of stillness, God’s great faithfulness, and a lot of work and attitude adjustment on my part.
I’m always amazed at the ways God connects what I’m experiencing with his Word. I recently read a devotion about the Sabbath. Not just the day of rest given every week, but the Sabbath year God gave to the Israelites as they were entering Canaan. Take a look at this:
Leviticus 25: 3-7
“When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the Sabbath year will be food for you- for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.”
After working hard in their fields for 6 years, they were to take a year to let their land lie fallow, not raising any crops, so the land could be more productive. Just like taking a Sabbath day every week was designed to do for them. They were to rest from their labor in the field- and allow the land to rest- to prepare for what was coming next.
Did they request this year? No. God gave it to them in His wisdom. I imagine the whole idea was pretty scary, not raising food for an entire year. When given this rule they must have wondered what they would eat. But they had to rely fully on His provision; His plan was to grow their faith and to show His faithfulness. And He did provide.
This Sabbath year was probably (at least initially) uncomfortable, odd to them. Out of their routine and their familiar rhythm. Out of their self-sufficient comfort zone. This was a “Sabbath unto the LORD,” realigning their attention from themselves to what HE was doing. Which is just where God wanted them.
Well. This has very clearly been my Sabbath year. My illness and eventual diagnosis necessitated rest that I didn’t ask for but desperately needed, total change of lifestyle for my whole family, and learning a more complete dependence on God. Being still and waiting is against my very nature and miles away from my comfort zone. But waiting is not wasted with God. This waiting was designed, much like the Israelites’ Sabbath year, to grow my faith and show His faithfulness.
Look back at the passage from Leviticus- “Whatever the land yields during the Sabbath year will be food for you.” The things that have come through this time have definitely fed me. I wasn’t out working, planting, sowing, tending, harvesting, and yet He has provided over and over again, physically, emotionally, financially, mentally, and spiritually. And much like the experience of the Israelites, this has been a “Sabbath unto the LORD,” realigning my attention from myself to what HE is doing. I’ve felt so many times that I was accomplishing nothing (again SO not part of my nature!). Now I can see that God has been accomplishing something. He has been preparing the fields, after they’ve rested, for a new purpose, having now fed His wandering daughter on what “grew on its own.”
After this post, you will see my blog on a different site. God is doing something here and I am eager to see what it looks like. In this Sabbath year of preparation and rest He has led me to pursue writing and speaking (as health permits) in a more purposeful way, sharing what He is teaching me from the perspective of being a fellow traveler, not one who as arrived.