Thursday, March 19, 2020

stop

Okay, let’s face it, we suck at stopping.  We’re terrible at pressing pause, and apparently no better when pause is pressed for us.  Exhibit A, the coronavirus.  One thing I have really noticed in the wake of this outbreak is our blatant unwillingness to stop.  We either can’t, or we won’t, I’m not sure which.  And that’s a problem, for a multitude of reasons.  Not the least of which is that our unwillingness to stop puts the very lives of others—particularly the most vulnerable among us—at risk.  But it actually goes deeper than that, because stopping is woven into our DNA.  It is essential to our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  And when we refuse to stop, we work in direct opposition to the way we have been made.  

Look no further than Genesis 2:2-3 and Exodus 20:11 for ample evidence.  After God himself had created the heavens and the earth, and all within it, he stopped.  The Hebrew word is shabath, which means “to stop or cease.”  God himself stopped.  But that’s not all God did, he also rested.  The Hebrew word for rest is nuwach (Exodus 20:11), which means “to settle in.”  God not only stopped, but he also settled in to the stopping.  He lived there for a day each week, and invites us to do the same.  This stopping and this settling in is a part of who he is, and since we are made in his image and likeness it is essential for us as well.  It is deeply woven onto the very fabric of our being, and when we refuse to do it, it tears at the image of God that was breathed into each of us.  It is essential to the living out of God’s very good (Genesis 1:31) creation.

So what are we to do?  Maybe we are to embrace, rather than resist, this pause that has been pressed for us.  Maybe God is trying to get our attention.  Maybe he is trying to teach us something.  Maybe we can use this time to allow him to teach us a few things about the way he designed life to work.  Maybe we can practice stopping and settling in, so that when life gets back to a sense of normalcy we might actually be better for having learned the lessons this season is trying to teach us.  If we will continue to battle the obsession (if not addiction) to go and to do, maybe we will begin to learn how to be.  Then we might actually become more like the people he intended us to be.  And that would indeed be very good.

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