I was doing my daily Bible study when a verse suddenly jumped out at me. It is something I’ve read before, but I’ve never given it much thought.
But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. Luke 5:16
I’m not sure why, but the adverb in that sentence is what grabbed me.
Jesus didn’t just withdraw for prayer, but He did it often.
Jesus had just healed a man of leprosy and told him to take the customary offering to the priest as a public testimony of his being cleansed. He also told the man not to go making a spectacle of his healing. Jesus told him not to tell anyone. He healed the man and told him to just do what the law of Moses required and don’t go making a huge deal out of it.
But, of course, the man talked. We know he talked because the Bible says that news of Jesus’ power spread and people came to hear Him preach and to be healed. And not just a few people. Luke 5:15 says “vast crowds” came. Vast!
Vast means great in size. A lot. We’re talking about multitudes.
But even Jesus knew when to take a break from the multitudes.
He withdrew often.
To the wilderness, which is a bit of a solitary place.
This example from our Savior, during a time where so much is being demanded of Him, a time when I am certain He felt the stress that we so often feel, is an example of taking a much needed break. It’s an example of stepping aside from the hustle and bustle of life. And it’s an example of seeking God first.
I get stressed out. I can feel like everything and everyone is coming at me at once. The needs of my children and my husband and life responsibilities can stack up and press in and have me frantic. These demands can often send me into a tizzy. I can try to not be noticed, and I can even ask my family to give me space, but the demands will keep coming.
And today God reached out and said to me, through the example He gave us in Christ, to just withdraw. Take a moment. And take it often. Step into another room. Walk outside. Go in the closet. Whatever I need that will be my wilderness for the moment… Go there and go there often. And pray!
My kids, my husband, my life, all of it will always be there and there will always be demands.
But I need to pray. I need to set my mind straight. I need to make sure I am seeking after God first so that I can meet the demands that life presents. I need to withdraw, even if for just a moment, often. God will meet me there, and He will make sure that I can keep on going.
And I won’t be quite as frantic if I do this often.