Obedience DOES bring blessings

As R.C. Sproul likes to say, “Ideas have consequences”.

Today I am on vacation – a true Sabbath rest.  And I am celebrating God’s goodness.

The other day, my favorite iron-mongering friend (as in ‘iron sharpening iron’ -Proverbs 27:17) mentioned a mutual acquaintance who had panicked and chosen the world’s way in a very difficult situation.  This person had even gotten legal counsel and I’m sure thinks he did what any reasonable person would do.  His weakness made us see the parallel with Abraham who caused his wife, Sarah, to lie by claiming to be his sister so the Egyptians wouldn’t kill Abe in order to take her into the royal harem.

As I left Starbucks, I was musing: I wonder where I am not trusting God and thereby sinning.

I did not have to wait long for God to let me know.  That night, I read a reference to a verse in Hebrews that has always seemed contradictory and therefore incomprehensible.   Hebrews 4:11 says, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that (Sabbath) rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience”

Another translation says, STRIVE to enter that rest. All of a sudden I thought about my struggle with the idea of the Sabbath and my antipathy to Sunday afternoons and lesson-planning.  Ever since I came to my current school, I have spent Saturdays cleaning and grocery shopping and Sundays after church lesson planning.  There seemed no way out.  I have travelled the gamut from guilt on one hand to resignation on the other.  I’ve justified working on Sundays since I habitually enjoy a long Saturday morning quiet time, noodling around in my Bible and then catching up with email on the computer until about 11 am.  My lunch is my reward after getting the upstairs clean and I leisurely catch up on a magazine during those 30 minutes before continuing on with normal chores.  So what if I work on Sunday?  I do enjoy a Sabbath – it’s just cut up in parts and scattered over the weekend.  But it has not been at all restful and I have lived with dread of the impending Sunday afternoon.

But all of a sudden I saw my dilemma as a case of unbelief.  I had declared that ‘given my teaching circumstances – 5 different preps – there was NO way I could do otherwise.  Now God was gently raising the possibility that He could in fact do more than I had imagined if I was WILLING to be obedient and trust him.

The challenge was on!  I felt like I had nothing to lose.  I just happened to mention it to my husband on Saturday morning.  It occurred to me that I could actually ask Mike to wash the kitchen floor.  Not only was he willing, but he said that he would clean up the entire kitchen to boot.

I could imagine God smirking…..in the past I’ve ‘taken pride’ in the fact that I clean every week without help from my husband. (Of course he is the one who does the outside; I don’t count that in my perfection equation).  Over the years, I’ve killed the ‘little martyr’ inside of me, while all along still perfecting my superior dance.   Now if my husband helped, I could not claim to be competent.  It didn’t even take more than 3 seconds to weigh my options.   Good bye competency!  Welcome dependency on others!

How did my day turn out?  I got up at the same time (fairly early), but had only a 25 minute quiet time.  I didn’t take a lunch break, but ate while working on lesson plans.  Since Mike took care of the kitchen – that saved about 45 minutes right there.  I only completed core plans and put on my ToDo List some other school-related tasks that I will trust God for come Monday.

Voilà – He came through.  All along I kept reminding myself of my impending vacation day – a true Sabbath.  Through His provision (wisdom, stretched time, a wonderful husband) I completed the cleaning and the grocery shopping. We also walked, dined leisurely and regretfully finished the last Downton Abbey show from Season 1.  Afterwards, I caught up on a magazine and was in bed by 10:15.  Visions of tomorrow’s blessing kept dancing through my head.  (I actually couldn’t sleep much, so excited was I!)

As I thought about this miracle, the idea came to mind:  what other commands of God have I avoided as impractical or impossible?   And an even more powerful thought – maybe God intends to really bless us with these ‘rules’.  Hmmm….what blessings have I willingly deprived myself of by believing Satan’s lies?