Two days before her death at age 87, worn from her battle with large and small cell lymphoma, my mother Elinor made a conscious decision to have her feeding tube removed. When I arrived at Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital to visit her, Mom’s nurse took me out in the hallway and implored me to ask Mom to reconsider. She promised me that she would think about her decision, then asked the nurse to switch the TV to her favorite program, “Jeopardy”. I have no doubt that Mom honored my request. The “little giant” stood her ground and the feeding tube was removed the next day. The following day, her struggle to breathe ended as she went to rest in Jesus’ arms.
Tired, worn, and heavy-hearted, our souls feel crushed by the callous, calculated, and detached pronouncement of our ministry position or career loss. Our hope fails us. Burdened by the weight of uncertainty, we cry out with broken hallelujahs and shattered praise, clinging to the thinnest strands of hope that we will find rest in Jesus. In Jeremiah 6:16, the prophet states where that rest is found: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ ”
While we typically think of the Sabbath as a day of rest, the Sabbath has another significant application, as Timothy Keller notes in Every Good Endeavor. Observing the Sabbath also is a declaration of freedom, that we’re not slaves to cultural expectations, family hopes, or our own insecurities. As we intentionally release our burdens to the Lord, we become increasingly attentive to His presence. There is a way out of the wilderness that leads to redemption. Promise you’ll think about it.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.”- 1 Corinthians 16:13-14