“Create time and space! Create time and space!”
Those words ring clearly as I recall memories from my childhood. As a young boy, my hockey coach would call out to us fledgling skaters to “create time and space” as we learned to navigate the rink and pass the hockey puck between our teammates. Hockey players are constantly passing the puck between teammates in order to create time and space between themselves and the defenders. They’re trying to create a shooting lane, a “window of opportunity” in which they can shoot the puck toward the net, unhindered by a defenseman right in their face. To create time and space on offense is to create a higher probability for our team to score. Later in life I would get the chance to coach my own team of young skaters and drill the same into their thinking: “create time and space.”
As I write this, I am currently in Dublin, NH helping at a Family Camp being put on at the Fairwood Bible Institute campus. On Wednesday morning I was reminded of this when I listened to guest speaker, Chuck Knowles, encourage the attendees from Psalm 127. His whole admonition on “Except the LORD build the house…” was inspiring, but it was this phrase “create time and space” that I instantly latched on to. Chuck, who played hockey when he was younger and has a son who has played, used this coaching term as a way for us to do the same with our own families —to create time and space for them to be spiritually fed and refreshed. One of his examples for doing that was keeping a Sabbath.
As our world which once seemed so large and vast is constantly reduced to the few inches of screen that our phones have to display, it is easy for us all to become overwhelmed by not only local news but also catastrophes happening in real time on the other side of the globe. When our everyday life has a tendency to create stress, how much more stress does life create when we inadvertently take on the stresses of the rest of the world’s calamites? By the week’s end our brains are generally swamped with needless anxieties, and we are looking for a reprieve from this world and our life.
“Be still.” Do you hear it?
Our Father is calling out to you and me.
Create time and space. Create time and space.
He is calling you to take a Sabbath rest.
The Sabbath was created for man by God (Mark 2:27), but too many of us do not accept this gift. Instead we have twisted it to become a ritualistic nightmare of rules and regulations. That was never what God intended it to be. Yes, it was a day to keep holy, but it was more importantly a day to enjoy; a day to worship and be in fellowship with our Creator. We must not lose sight of that. Creating time and space on the Sabbath can be the most effective way for us all to get the recuperation that each of us needs for body and soul. This is true not only for us as individuals, but also for our families.
As I conclude, I would encourage you consider a second point. Life can bear down on us all and cause us to consider skipping the rest that is offered through a Sabbath. But think of it with this analogy from sports. All sports have offense and defense. We have currently referenced offense by “creating time and space.” The opposite is defense, and that is “limiting time and space.” This means to limit the opportunities for the opposing team to score.
There must always be balance—good offense and good defense. Throughout the week we can get so caught up trying to “limit” the enemy of our souls that we forget to go on offense. By the sheer act of taking a rest from the world and its stresses, listening to the Spirit’s call, and actively creating time and space this Sabbath, we will passively be limiting time and space for the world, flesh, and devil to have “windows of opportunities” in our lives.
Be of good cheer!