It was not a research paper. In fact the professor gave us explicit instructions that the paper was not to be a treatise on Sabbath rest.
It was due two days after a 30-page research paper, and I worked on it for hours. It was shortly after midnight and after rereading my Sabbath rest paper and the requirements for the paper that I realized I had written exactly what my professor had asked us not to write.
I had written a treatise on Sabbath rest. I wrote as formally and systematically about Sabbath as my already research paper weary head could manage.
Upon realizing that I had written the opposite of what had been asked of me I did the only logical thing I could: I collapsed on my bed and sobbed.
A few minutes and several tissues later I began trying to rework my paper, somehow squish what I’d written into the expectations outlined in the syllabus. Several tearful and frustrated moments later I saved my paper, closed my laptop, and went to bed.
As tends to happen, the dire situation I left the night before was not quite so dire after some quality shuteye, a cup of French press, and a serious (and yes, tearful) conversation with Jesus.
Though the sleep and the coffee were quite good, it was the conversation with Jesus that really did the trick. I sat on my bed, coffee with in reach, laptop open in front of me, and I closed my eyes and prayed. I told God that I needed to write this paper. Time was running out and I needed help. I needed help figuring out why I couldn’t seem to engage with the idea of Sabbath rest from any other perspective but a removed, academic one.
“You do not rest because you do not trust.”
I lifted my head from my hands, eyes still closed in prayer, and I could feel the truth of His words.
“You do not rest because you do not trust Me.”
. . . . . . .
I did not rewrite that paper. Instead, in the portion of the paper designated for reflection, I offered up what I had learned in the last twelve hours—I did not trust God to provide.
As I sit on my bed, that same laptop open on a different bed, the night before my fourth semester of seminary, I can feel that lack of trust hovering close by, waiting for me.
When this summer that has been full of rest, of love, of play, of fun is replaced by hundreds of flash cards and verb paradigms, research papers, reading, and advanced Hebrew grammar, will I still trust Him to provide?
If the past three semesters of school are any indication my answer is both yes and no. Some days I will trust Him to provide, and others I will not.
God’s ability to provide is not dictated by whether I trust Him to provide or not.
God will provide because He is a God who provides all that His children need, even before we know we need it.
God will provide because He is a God who understands our asking.
God will provide because He is a God who knows what we are seeking.
God will provide because He is a God who answers our knocking.
Brothers and sisters, let us believe that God is who He says He is.