Is Sabbath a disorienting dilemma?
Teachers know the importance of occasionally introducing negative experiences into the life of their students. Consider the method of teaching called “transformative learning theory” originated by Jack Mezirow, who lived from 1923-2014.
“Transformative learning is a theory of adult learning that utilizes disorienting dilemmas to challenge students’ thinking. Students are then encouraged to use critical thinking and questioning to consider if their underlying assumptions and beliefs about the world are accurate.” -Mezirow
Could it be that God, the master teacher, intentionally introduced a “disorienting dilemma” called COVID-19 to challenge humanity’s thinking? Might it be true that the temporary separation we are experiencing is a necessary method of teaching humans valuable lessons and ultimately strengthening our relationship with him?
In my book Your Last 24: Preparing for the Inevitable (The Legacy Series Book 1),
I reference this “disorienting dilemma” of temporary separation in relationship to parenting my children.
“I recall when my children benefited from the disorienting dilemma called time out. It usually began with their desire to be king (or queen), masters of their own universe. They screamed, rolled on the floor, pushed, punched, and did anything they could to demand allegiance to their commands. I discovered that one of the best ways to help my children understand they were not the king or queen of the universe was to temporarily separate them from others. This temporary separation created time and space for them to think (and hopefully to pray), but also involved a time of personal interaction with either me or my wife. The temporary separation taught them that relationships are a privilege and should be handled with care.
The key to experiencing positive results from the disorienting dilemma of separation is not as much about what someone is being separated from, but rather what they are being separated to.” Your Last 24: Preparing for the Inevitable (The Legacy Series Book 1),
Could separation really be good for us?
As I have been following the rules of “shelter in place”, I have observed some beautiful and rare images – children riding bikes, entire families walking TOGETHER (mom, dad, children). Yes, we have been separated from large gatherings, but we have been separated with an opportunity to focus close. We are being called to sabbath, to discover rest in close relationships – with family and with God.
There is an ancient story offering profound truth relevant to our present disorienting dilemma. The story is about a nation of nomadic, desert travelers seeking a land of milk and honey wherein they could rest. Some of these travelers entered into that rest, but some did not. What made the difference? Faith. Belief. Soft hearts.
“…good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith…“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”…Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” Hebrews 3-4 ESV
Do you want to enter into rest today? Rest begins by believing that God will provide for your needs. There is an ancient truth which encourages me during times of great need:
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV
God will provide all that you need, to do all that He wants you to do!
Rest also comes through softening a hardening heart. If you’re hurting or angry, talk to your Heavenly Father about it. We all need God.
This time of temporary separation has a purpose. Trust God that he can transform this disorienting dilemma into a transformative lesson about Sabbath. Rest in Him today.