Practicing Sabbath : Part One
"I want to show you My holiness." The Lord whispered in my heart during prayer three years ago. With excitement, I grabbed the Lord's hand, in acceptance of the adventure, and He began walking me through a journey. Every time I felt I had "arrived" with an exclamation of "Ah! So THIS is Your holiness!" He seemed to give an omniscient smirk at me with the knowledge of "Oh My Dear, you haven't seen anything yet."
The best word picture I can give you of this process, is to imagine being on a hike, in the most beautiful terrain. About every five to ten miles, you come to the top of a hill or mountain and see a new breathtaking view you never knew existed. Crystal clear sparkling blue lakes, fields flooded with flowers, snow capped mountains, waterfalls that make you feel eerily small. Hand in hand, The Lord has been taking me on this "Holiness Journey" and with each discovery and revelation He's showing me a new view of who He is. First I saw His power. Meant to be feared and trembled with. So overpowering that it reminds you of your finite humanity in a humbling way. Holy.
Then I saw His heart. Perfectly pure. No hidden motive, no selfish trace of vanity, and carrier of the purest delight in and out of this universe. Holy.
Next He showed me His friendship. One of my most favorite views of all. Deep and wide, and yet close and soft. The epicenter of all His ways; to earn a friendship with His beloved creation. Holy.
Then I saw His methods. There is no flaw in His laws. His ways are just. His plans are perfect. With each of my selfish choices, He showed me the breaking of His laws; thus the breaking of His heart. The big picture of His methods changed me. Holy. Ironically, the vastest portion I've seen is His Sabbath. Stretched out like the sky, an awareness of the security found in His character. Holy. I say ironically because Sabbath wasn't anywhere on my heart when I thought of "God's Holiness". And yet here I still am. I've been here the longest. Flat on my back, staring at the sky of sabbath. Each time I think I've figured it out, the sun changes to a moon, or the rainstorm becomes a canvas full of stars.
I've been here for months. Almost a year. I can't get up. His hand isn't leading me to the next spot or scene. His hand is not idle, it has moved, but not to my back pushing my forward, or clenching my hand guiding me to the next. His hand has shifted to my head; to my chin. In this season, I feel His sovereign hand, the lifter of my head, telling me, "Look up, My Darling. I want to show you My Holiness."
If I can give you a picture within my picture: (Clearly I'm a visual person) Imagine me, lying in a field, eyes locked on the sky. Yet in my peripheral, I see and sense the Lord in motion. I am still, but He is not. He is carrying a large braided rope. He is walking the perimeter of the very large field, and lacing it with this rope. The rope is braided with His power, His heart, His friendship, His methods. Then, He comes and lyes down next to me. And together, in safety and secrecy, we gaze at the sky and He whispers, "Keep your gaze up. You are IN my Sabbath. This IS my portion. These are MY boundaries. (I'm crying now, typing this, because it is much more than a metaphor that I am sharing.)
So what do you do with that? You focus the motion of your face and keep gazing up. You wait. You bask. You see. You hear. You obey. In this stillness, my friends, I am seeing His omnipresence; His constant nearness. I am sensing His omnipotence : His unlimited power. For the next few blogs, I want to unpack this four part series with you : The Perimeter, the Posture, and the Practice of Sabbath. (Some will be philosophical and some will be practical). Not that I know everything, but I've been here a while thinking, studying, listening, and seeing. I think He's given me some insight to share. I feel some of the other "scenic lessons" may have been just for me. (Or for a blog or book later) But this Sabbath scene, it is timely for us. One of my dreams in life, it to be known as a thought leader for generations. To capture pictures and revelations and experiences and link them into words of weight that show us God. I feel this topic is one of those moments. This "Sabbath Scene", it is for us all. Would you care to meet me here next week? We'll continue this journey. Let's lie, listen, and learn together. Still Sky-Gazing, Abby