Beloved, in my last blog I started telling you about how I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to “come away” with Him to a quiet place to rest. Rest is a word that the demands of 21st century living has almost erased from our vocabulary. Even when we go on leave, do we really r-e-s-t? I mean, do we turn off the almighty mobile phone or the laptop, I-pad or the other contraptions of modern day living just to be quiet for a period? In fact I am convinced that some of us have lost the art of being quiet, being alone with God. I must admit that on my time away I too was fidgety for the first day and very tempted to respond to phone calls, to sort out on issue or the other. My choice of destination turned out to be just the right one as the rooms in the Lodge where I stayed in had no telephone or TV! Quite unthinkable in the times in which we live in.
Yet the Bible records that Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, came apart often to pray, “as His manner was.” Now, if coming apart was second nature to Him who was the fullness of God in bodily form, how much more should we make it our practice?
When the Apostles returned from their first ministry trip, they recounted to Jesus all they had done and taught. After listening to them Jesus said to them “come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest for a while: for there were many coming and going and they had no leisure so much as to eat”. (Mark 6:30-31)
After hearing the news of John the Baptist’s death, Jesus went to a desert place to commune with His Father (Matthew 14:13). He was accustomed to going to the Mount of Olives to pray all night and on the night He was arrested, He was in the garden of Gethsemane, with some of His disciples, praying. Throughout Jesus’ time on earth, He was always going to a quiet place to rest in God’s presence. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ chose the disciples, later to be called apostles, after spending time alone with God. You may say that if He was hearing from God, why did He choose Judas? But you also know that Judas was there to fulfill the scriptures (Matthew 26:23-24).
Coming away to rest is mandatory if we must do the work God gave us to do in the way He wants us to do it. Physical rest re-energizes the body and mind and this is good. Spiritual rest is a place of communion with God alone, shutting out the cares of the world. God longs for us to get into that place often as He has so many things to say to us which we cannot receive if we are busy with daily living.
There are many benefits of being in the quiet place: we are strengthen, recharged, established, given new mandates or directions, answers to our prayers or questions, rebuked and encouraged, just to name a few. But perhaps the most important benefit, to me, is that God is able to share what is on His heart with us and equip us to carry out His mandate. Now that’s truly amazing.
I am looking forward to the next time away.