“Yet He frequently withdrew to lonely places to pray.”
I went to India a few years ago with my husband and it was the most amazing trip I have ever been on. But it was also very crowded. I’m talking like uncomfortably crowded. I remember we had to take a train to get to our next destination. When we got to the train station it was madness. I thought I knew what crowded was, but clearly I did not. India is crowded. Like I could smell people, crowded. I could smell hair and breath and goats and it was not ok. Thousands of people all trying to get on the same train and seemingly no sort of ticketing system or wait your turn concepts. All bets were off and as soon as the train arrived it was pure pandemonium. Moms grabbing babies with no shoes by their arms, men slithering through cracks not big enough for a child to get to the train doors and I was holding on for dear life to Josh’s shirt as he plowed through hundreds of people who were also plowing through hundreds of people. Straight up madness. And there were goats, did I mention that? People with their goats boarding the train.
The bible says it may have looked similar to this train scene shortly after Jesus began his ministry. People were hearing of His miracles and healings. It says in the book of Luke that the news about what Jesus was doing was spreading so rapidly that people came in droves just to hear him and be healed.
Do you ever feel like life is coming at you in droves? Just all the life things? Its like there are hundreds of life things that constantly need our attention. Little things like running out of toilet paper, big things like finding mom in home care for her declining health, medium things like a gift for a teacher or friend. But its all of them combined that makes it feel heavy, like you can’t see when the entire list will ever be checked off.
The very next verse after it says that people came in droves to hear Him and be healed, almost doesn’t make any sense. It kind of doesn’t even fit. It says “Yet news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Kind of an interesting place to let us know that, right?
I think it’s the perfect place actually. The biggest most climactic scene, people are searching for Him, desperate for Him…. and he bails. And he did it frequently it says. Busiest guy in town, most powerful guy in town, in the most stressful circumstance in town and He was intentional about finding alone time with God.
We can’t keep trying in our own will to get all the stuff done. We can’t keep letting the entire day go by under the lie that we are too busy. It’s very simple, go frequently to lonely places to be with God. Whether it is 5 minutes in your closet before your kids see you, or the first 5 minutes you get in your car on the way to school or work. Maybe its setting the alarm earlier to wake up or setting an alarm 10 minutes before bedtime to be with Him. Make it important.
Today’s prayer challenge:
Reflect on what you will be doing every day this week. Pick a time that you will commit to being alone with God. Write down the time. If you do not have 5 minutes to spare, commit to God what you will cut out of your day and replace with alone time with Him. Remind yourself of the truth that not everything in your day is more important that time alone with God. Pray over the time you have picked.
God I see that I have not fought for time alone with you. God forgive me that I have bought the lie that I am too busy for time with you. God help me to give you my best, not my leftovers. God change my heart to be excited to be with you and not to resent things that get in the way of that time. God help me to be intentional and a good steward of my time. In Christ’s name, Amen.