This is a guest post by Susan Cabouli, Ph.D. and psychotherapist. She is currently working on a book entitled, GOD’S SABBATH Time of Rest. As one raised as a Jew, Susan brings a special perspective to her understanding of the Sabbath.
I don’t remember when I started thinking about rest, or why I became so drawn to finding it. Maybe because it seemed to promise relief from the exhausting and crushing weight of despair I often felt.
Maybe because I sensed in nature – even as an atheist – that its greatest beauty was not in its visible designs and colors and alluring smells but in its absolute presence that proclaims a naked confidence, a daring to be all that it is without the smallest need to explain or excuse.
Nature’s shameless confidence-to-be is the invisible beauty in all existence that compares to the human experience of trust embraced by trustworthiness, like a baby sleeping securely in her mother’s arms.
Nature’s inviolable trust that abandons its every atom to being is – when translated as a personal dynamic – an immersion in rest. In this encompassing rest, there is not the slightest unsettling separation between what is and what should be, not the least straining to get anything that is not already entirely given.
All nature, all creation perfectly fits existence with a certainty of being that needs nothing more or different to fully BE. Existence in its essential presence is at perfect peace, nurtured and kept in perfect rest
All that exists is sustained and founded in rest. No striving or work is possible to bring us to where we already most certainly are or to get what is already fully given. We experience this absolute grounding of reality as the givens of life, the assumptions we all know and live by.
There is no apparent need to learn what we think we already know or give attention to what our senses can’t perceive, so we turn instead to things that more naturally engage our attention and senses. Who could blame us for preferring things that fascinate and invite our participation to what is insensible, inaccessible and unchanging? Who wouldn’t rather enjoy a garden for the beauty of its varied and ephemeral flowers instead of the mere truth that it is there?
But when we consider and pause near the places of our being where the givens rest and sense in them a trustworthy Giver, we discern a dimension of life whose faintest appearing is most precious even though it is most often ignored; a grounding that gives new meaning to living even though it has always been; a joy that fills life with abundance even though it is rarely sought or even acknowledged as real.
God’s creation rests on the most fertile ground of His rest that can never be tampered with or violated
God gives our senses things we can perceive to enjoy and define as we want, but we can never touch the substance of His enduring and holy ways. It is in God’s holy ways that we discover His rest, the blessing of His Sabbath
God’s rest is evident in all creation. I believe it is because His rest is so essential to the place and purpose of everything that it is rendered invisible to us. We look straight through its vital presence and proceed with the life we are busy paving.
But God’s reliable rest endures and sustains, whether or not we acknowledge it. We first read in the Bible of God’s rest in His completing creation and later in His fourth commandment to Israel. The full revelation of God’s rest is Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath, who reveals God’s rest as personal and sacrificial.
Jesus is our perfect rest in God, a solid anchor who assures our personal rest by giving us His life. God promises He will meet us in His rest. God’s rest is His to give, and it is ours to receive.
Even after so many years studying God’s Sabbath and so much time and desire devoted to it, I often sense it eludes me and slips away, as if it had never come to me at all; until it returns in all its glory and majesty and I am again overcome by the goodness of God’s rest and the wonder that He does all things well.
This book is my attempt to hold onto the blessing of God’s Sabbath and to share it with you, so that all we take for granted may assume its true place as the substance of God’s good grace to each of us.
Please email Susan here with any thoughts or questions.