In a constant search for the latest trend to move our lives into a deeper existence or appear more spiritual, it seems we will try anything except what matters most. There are two words that truly define the life that Christ lived on this earth. We find these words in Luke 5:16 ‘But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
We find these defining words in that Jesus often withdrew; he often withdrew from the crowds, he often withdrew from the disciples, he often withdrew from teachings, the healings and basic life in general. But Jesus just didn’t withdraw from these activities so he could go play some angry birds or watch some television. He left the frantic demands of the life he had in order to find quiet place where he could just just be with God and pray.
To set this stage for us, Jesus was teaching all over the place at this point in his ministry. He had called his disciples, he was healing lepers and blind men, he was gaining a tremendous amount of popularity wherever he went, and teaching wherever he could. It got to the point that Jesus could not even show his face without crowds gathering wanting to be fed, to be healed, or to hear his teaching. If Jesus had a Twitter account he definitely would have been trending. Yet with all of these demands, with all of these pressures put upon him with all of these expectations he would often withdraw to a lonely places and pray. With all the expectations placed upon him, Jesus would step back from the frenetic pace of life to spend time with the Father.
Filling Our Tanks
Now we could look at this and think Jesus was being selfish and just wanted some alone time, but if we think that then we miss out on something astounding. Jesus knew after a time of teaching, of healing, of teaching the disciples, or the masses that his soul would lag, that his spiritual resources would become depleted. He knew if he was going to keep going, to keep being effective then he had to rejuvenate himself. So he would take himself away from the crowds and find some lonely solitary place so he could just be with the Father and restore his soul. To rejuvenate his life with the natural spiritual resources only the Father could give. Then, and only then, could he go back to the crowds, to the hurting, to the disciples, and effectively minister to them.
Here is the Son of God, Jesus Christ, God incarnate walking around on the earth with all the power of God and all of the weakness of man wrapped up into one being. Yet even the Son of God had to often withdraw to lonely places and pray. If Jesus Christ had to often withdraw to lonely places and pray, how much more should I be mimicking this aspect of Christ? How much more should I often be withdrawing to lonely places so I to can be with the Father and restore my soul? How busy do I think I really am, how over-important do I think I am or my time is that others cannot be without me for a few hours or days. If the people could be without Christ for a period of time, I think they will be alright without me. But if I choose to get away to come to the Father and simply be and let him rejuvenate my very being, how much more effective for the Kingdom of God will I be when I return?
My challenge for you today is to find a lonely place where you can go and pray, to just be with the Father. What is keeping you from accepting this challenge, not enough time, don’t want to be missed, don’t want to miss out on something else? If this was a practice that Jesus Christ would often participate, how much more should we be trying to make this practice a part of our lives?