By: Gabriela Yareliz
Scripture tells us that the day is made up of evening and morning. (Genesis 1:5) This is why Sabbath begins Friday sundown and ends Saturday sundown. As I have been examining what it means to rest, I was hit by a quote by Eugene Peterson, which says, “The Hebrew evening/morning sequence conditions us to the rhythms of grace. We go to sleep and God begins His work.” I would argue that Peterson is wrong in pointing to this as a Hebrew time structure. This was established at creation, long before Israel was formed and set apart. (The same can be said about the Sabbath. It is universal). The Scriptural day and division of time starts with us doing nothing and settling into the unconscious.
Tish Harrison Warren writes, “For Christians, the act of ceasing and relaxing into sleep is an act of reliance on God. What if Christians were known as a countercultural community of the well-rested– people who embrace our limits with zest and even joy?“
Why is rest so hard for us? Is it because it goes against our selfish nature to accept the humility of being a frail and finite little creature? We rebel against the notion (as Warren writes) that God is the only one who does not slumber or sleep. We must train ourselves in the humility of knowing and being comforted by this fact. Even while we rest in nothingness, we are held in His hands under His watchful eye.