Twenty years ago our family lived through an ice storm that left us without power for five days. All night, freezing rain caused ice to weigh down the branches of our trees. Every time a limb broke, it sounded like someone was firing a shotgun.
Five days of no power meant five days (for a family with two teens) of no lights, no heat, no refrigerator, no oven, no TV, no computer, and no video games. The temperature in the house dropped to 55 degrees every night.
This is not something any of us would have volunteered to go through, but looking back on it, our family would agree it was an experience we kind of enjoyed in a strange way. Yes, it was no fun having to wear several layers of clothing to stay warm. It was no picnic eating cold food all the time. But the fact that we had no electronic distractions meant we were forced to find something else to do with our free time. And since the schools had no power, we had lots of free time!
Did you know it can actually be a lot of fun to sit down as a family and read through The Chronicles of Narnia by candlelight? Did you know long periods of silence can sometimes prompt teenagers to open up and share things about their lives that a parent normally would find it difficult to get them to talk about?
I’m not going to pretend we didn’t all cheer when the power finally came back on, but a part of me was sad when we had to go back to our normal lives. Afterwards, there were times I was tempted to sneak into the garage and flip the main breaker off just to see if we could recreate some of those meaningful family times.
When God gave Moses the laws he wanted his people to live by, one of the biggies was that they should observe a regular time of Sabbath rest. I thought our electronic distractions were bad 20 years ago, but they weren’t anything compared to what families are bombarded with today.
Do you find this to be a problem for your family? Have you ever considered observing a time of Sabbath where all electronic forms of distraction are turned off for a few hours, days, weeks, or longer?
In Mark 6:31, Jesus told his apostles, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Rest from distractions was important 2000 years ago. It’s probably much more needed today.