Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: YEAR (05/17/18)
By Linda Lawrence
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I was approaching fifty and thinking about what and how to celebrate. What plans had God made for us to observe the fiftieth year? Jubilee? This Super Sabbath is tucked away in Leviticus 25. Because the Jubilee decrees are from another time and culture, I’ll let you make your own application, but share with you what came to my mind.
Who wouldn’t want a whole year of rest? Perhaps those who are afraid God might not come through if we don’t provide for ourselves. But the Jubilee gift was freedom from the toil and worry of planting and pruning and harvesting because He had already provided through a bumper crop! Now I got it. It is His work that produces the needed fruit, not mine. I took this as encouragement and permission to let go of responsibilities I took on only because I thought I ‘should’, striving to feel productive. I was then free to fully engage in giving the Lord my full attention.
The next activity for this 50th observance was to count off seven Sabbath years. I did that in my journal, and then asked and waited for God to show me what he had provided during each of those stages of my life. Memories surfaced throughout the year, and as I wrote them down I eventually came to see how patiently, but persistently, God had transformed my early fear of Him into growing love and trust. Your memories will be different, but I treasure mine because they showed me how well God knows me and cares about my needs and wants. This was a year set aside for recognizing, remembering, and celebrating God’s faithfulness.
But His plan gets better and better. He wants to redeem our forfeited inheritance. I tried to think what had once been mine but had been lost. Ah, what I longed for was what Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. I know God created us for intimacy with Him, and that’s what had been missing. My Jubilee year was when I began understanding how being ‘in Christ’ makes it possible to walk and talk with the Lord as though I had never sinned. It was time for me to begin enjoying my redeemed spiritual inheritance.
Can you believe there’s more? This is a time to be set free from slavery. So many things can enslave us. I knew right away what enslaved me: self-consciousness. Then I thought about how bound up I was by self-occupation and self-centeredness. I can’t say I feel free of self since my Jubilee year, but I was set completely free from self-consciousness with my Lord. Once I understood how intimately He knew me, yet loved and accepted me, my eyes were drawn to His perfections instead of my imperfections. I could now willingly and freely abandon myself to my Beloved Lord.
As my Jubilee year drew to a close, I was full to overflowing with joy and peace and wonder. I wanted to shout from the rooftop that we have a God who loves us and cares for us. He wants to set us free to live for Him, and with Him forever.
Well, I didn’t get on the roof, but I did invite some very special friends to celebrate my Jubilee birthday with me in my backyard. I asked them to give me the gift of time, a day for me to tell them the many backstories to this story. Each of them is a part of the story, another of God’s gifts to me. Wish you could have been there. There was plenty of food. Apple pie, instead of cake.
This page only has space for this brief summary, but I’ll be telling these stories now and through eternity to anyone who will listen. And God is not even done yet!
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