Retreat!

by Dawn Aldrich

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 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Mark 1:35-37

When life comes at you like a freight train – full speed ahead – it’s all you can do to hang on tight. There’s barely time to think, no warning, no preparing or packing a bag – only time to react and latch onto whatever is in front of you until the train stops.

The unexpected happens all the time – life and death – but when they couple themselves together and come one after the other, our minds can’t catch up with our hearts. In every crises, whether good or bad, there’s always stuff to be done – responsibilities and loose ends to tie up – for those holding up the arms of loved ones.

And when that freight train comes to a screeching halt – even for a brief moment – we find ourselves disheveled, speechless, utterly weary and maybe even a bit numb. We feel neither joy nor sorrow because we’ve been so busy caring for others that we pushed our own emotions aside. All we want is solace. Quiet. Retreat.

Isn’t that exactly what Jesus felt? After a day of teaching and healing and crowds pushing in he rested. And in the dark, just before sunrise, he retreated to a quiet place, alone – far away from the crowds and people who needed his touch. And while he was there? He spent time alone with his Father – where I imagine he cried, prayed, received encouragement, refreshment and empowerment to see things from heaven’s perspective once again.

We all need those times, don’t we? Time alone with our Father to cry it all out, to share what’s on our hearts, listen for his voice and receive the encouragement and empowerment that comes only by spending time in His presence; time to refocus, zoom out from the immediate situation and gain God’s higher perspective.

When you feel spent, what’s your favorite place to retreat? How do you draw God close when you can barely utter a word?

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