Sabbath Turns to Surrender
My Sabbath has become a cherished moment in our busy week. At this point in my life, with so many different responsibilities, I pretty much only have Sunday afternoons and Mondays off. Tuesday through Friday is dedicated to Redemption Press, Saturdays are dedicated to women’s ministry tasks, presidential duties for the Northwest Christian Writers’ Association (NCWA), Always Faithful Radio production and admin upkeep, and doing the bulletin for the weekend church services. Saturday night and Sunday morning are church services and Sunday school. By noon on Sunday, I am literally wiped out, so I look forward to our short respite in the motorhome or on the boat.
Well, this weekend definitely held a new opportunity to be conformed to the image of Christ. After a long but fruitful two days of ministry at the Enumclaw Rotary Street Fair with booths representing The Summit EFC, Always Faithful Radio and Redemption Press, we headed out after the Sunday service to bless the voyage of some good friends and Summit members who were taking off for a great adventure on the high seas. After we finished there it was time to wind down on our boat and rest. We were going to just stay in the slip and enjoy the sunset. Keep it simple and unplug.
The first disappointment came as we arrived to see the 40-foot cabin cruiser in its slip, blocking our sunset view. But when the owners showed up and said they were going out for the evening, I exhaled a sigh in joy that our view was going to be restored and the evening would be quiet and peaceful.
About an hour later we noticed the boat out in the bay, just sitting there. That was not their plan, so we knew something was wrong. Disappointment crept back in. A short time later the boat limped back into the slip. My heart sunk. This was not at all what I had hoped for and my unmet expectation of a beautiful refreshing Sabbath was soon sending my thoughts spiraling into some major grumbling in my heart.
Not once did I ask myself, Lord…what are You doing here? Is this an opportunity to minister to them? Nope. I was not that spiritual at all. I had my hopes built up for a certain outcome and they were dashed, and I very clearly was not applying Philippians 4:4-8 AT ALL. I was not rejoicing always. My gentleness was not evident to all and I did NOT feel like the Lord was near! I was throwing one big hissy-fit and expected Ross to join me. As you can imagine, he did not partake in the least.
As I looked out over the bay and contemplated my bad attitude and it’s ensuing pity party, I listened as the couple started to chat with Ross. From past conversations we knew they clearly weren’t believers, so there I sat watching God open a door to some meaningful conversation with a couple who need Jesus. All of a sudden, I saw how God has placed us right in that slip, right next to them in their boat, to be a light in the darkness, to show them Jesus with skin on … to share with them the hope that lies within us. The boat was no longer my escape from work and ministry, it had now become an integral part of it.
How convicting. I felt like a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum because I didn’t get my way, when in reality my Father wanted to give me something much better than what I thought I wanted.
Suddenly the scripture from Isaiah filled my heart…
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (Isaiah 55:8 NLT)
WOW. An apt description of the God of the Universe … and a reality that I could stand to be reminded of more often, to refrain from falling into such selfish thinking. I am woefully far from being in step with the Spirit the way I need to be. And He is ALWAYS FAITHFUL to steer me back on track.
Lord, help me see situations with Your eyes and with Your heart, not from my limited perspective that values what I want more than what You want!