Dear Sabbath Seekers,
When was the last time you were surprised? Not the jump out of your skin kind of surprise or the cynical response to a changed behavior but a real, honest to God, surprise of wonder and joy?
Can’t remember?…me either.
However, as I watched my 10 month old grandson sit in a swing for the first time and feel the breeze on his face as his mother pushed him I saw it on his face. A mixture of ‘what is this, Mom?’ and ‘oh, wow, that feels so cool’ flashed across his face and then he broke out in a belly laugh that made heads turns. Now that is surprise, wonder and joy all in one. And for those watching we couldn’t help but be caught up in his surprise and joy. Laughter came from all around. It was one of those sweet moments of life.
And, it was for me, one of those sweet Sabbath moments of life. In that moment all the beauty, joy, love and peace that God wants for his people burst out this little boy reminding me that life is meant to be a daily delight and surprise if we are truly connected to our God.
I know there are the moments of tragedy and sorrow that break our hearts and threaten to destroy our spirits. I have known them too. Our low points can be as low as our high points are high. And with both there is a total experience of life’s joys and sorrows, life’s surprises and wonder, life’s questions and confusions. Where does that joy come from? How does one climb back out of the abyss? How do joy and sorrow mingle so completely and is it those highs and lows that make us human…creatures made in the image of God?
To be alive and surprised by all it brings is to feel the full range of emotions from gladness to sadness. I believe that to be fully alive, feeling the ups and downs is what brings us into relationship with our God. The one who is surprises us, comforts us, laughs with us and cries with us. To have that connection with God we have to stop and take a rest with God, to bask in the gift of Sabbath and to show God our true emotions in all our experiences.
It is in those sweet and bittersweet Sabbath moments that we pause and look to God knowing God will be looking back with open arms, a knowing laugh or sigh and the promise of eternal surprises.
“O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!
He forgives your sins – every one. He heals your diseases – every one. He redeems you from hell – saves your life. He crowns you with love and mercy – a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness – beauty eternal. He renews your youth – you’re always young in his presence.” Psalm 105 2-5 The Message.