Friday, August 08, 2008
Tomorrow we start a 3 month sabbatical.
Today I met with my mentor who encouraged me to lie fallow for a while ,and to wait for the time when God begins to bring new life before breaking the fallow ground and watering the seed. We need times in our lives when we just rest, and for us after 2 years back in NZ working pretty solidly and a total of 10 years working in missions, now is that time.
He shared with me from Isaiah 7 where "people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm" because of imminent invasion (v2), and Isaiah received a word from the Lord that they should not worry as it won't happen and that "Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm." (v9) Then in v13 comes the promise of "Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’)." It is our prayer that we will really experience the presence of the Lord in this time and that our faith will stand firm.
I have also been challenged by words from The Sabbath, by Abraham Joshua Heschel, Susannah Heschel, p14 to not fall into the trap of seeing sabbath as being "for the purpose of recovering one's lost strength and becoming fit for the forthcoming labour" but rather as "a day for the sake of life." ie. it is an ends not a means to an end. You work to enjoy the Sabbath, not rest on the sabbath to get back into the work. I hope to view this time in that way - to be enjoyed and experienced as a special season in life.
Being rather than doing is not easy when you have been doing for a long time. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the time and space.