Imagine walking a rigorous, six-mile hike. By the end of it, you have rocks in your shoes. Some nettles have stung your skin. Thorns have caught in your clothes. Your legs are scraped. But you step into a clearing, and, miraculously, the rocks are dissolved, the nettles fall off, the scrapes are healed. That is what the Sabbath is like. Or at least, what the Sabbath can be like.
Life stings us, yes. Over the course of six days, it can wear us out. But we are supposed to remember that our lives are dedicated to something bigger than just survival or hollow notions of success. We are, through a unique time of rest, meant to be reminded of who God is and that life has an eternal scope and dimension to it.
Sabbath, then, is a unique invitation from God, and it’s very different than the notions of rests that have become currency in our society. In our culture, we often think about rest as “living to get to the weekend,” which ends up making life a sort of drudgery filled with fleeting moments of respite. Sabbath is very different than just enduring work in order to get to playtime. God has designed Sabbath to be a catalyst for spiritual renewal and a rest that infuses the entire week with energy. We are meant to work from a place of rest, not the way other way around. Do we have the faith to believe this and to trust the God who loves us and wants to give us rest?
To ground yourself in this truth, see Psalm 127:2 and all of Matthew 6.