All packed up in my grey Chevette, I eagerly anticipated my arrival in the little town of Salado, Texas, one hour north of Austin. Back in my first years of campus ministry, while living in Austin, my weeks were filled with meetings, discussions with college students, speaking in sororities, late night phone calls, and social events with my roommates and coworkers. Each semester I planned a weekend retreat at the Stagecoach Inn in Salado for a time of peace and quiet, alone to think and listen. Walking around the town and sitting outside, I filled the pages in my journals and talked with God, praying and listening to Him. After two days of thinking, silence, prayer, and writing I returned home with a renewed purpose, excited for the next adventure at work and in my life.
Recently, I took a small “retreat” from writing my blog to take some time alone to think, pray and listen to God. I needed to refuel my mind. Right now, in my own world and the outside world around me, I am constantly bombarded with daily turmoil, urgent decisions, and discouraging news. There are so many needs, so much to pray for, so many lives in pain that I need to retreat and get God’s perspective. I need time to listen to the One who is in control of it all.
Not much different than now, Jesus lived in a world of national problems, cultural divides, and religious pride and persecution. Meeting the needs of the hurting, the dying, and all worldly evil made Jesus eagerly long for special times alone to think and pray. His disciples who noticed these times of retreat wrote:
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
“Afterward he went up into the hills by himself to pray…” Matt. 14:23
Right now the world and nations are in great turmoil, evil is growing day by day, there is so much to do to bring God’s light into a dark world. But, like Jesus, we need special times to retreat, to withdraw to a quiet place to be with Him. Even King David, the leader of a great nation, recognized his need for peaceful time alone with his Lord God. He wrote these words:
“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3
“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not…over the man who carries out evil devices!” Psalm 37:7
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10
Are you packed up, ready to withdraw to a quiet place for a peaceful alone time with Jesus even though your world is full of craziness? As we abide with Jesus daily, we also need special times of quiet to think and pray, maybe even to write what is in our hearts. Then we too can say–“He restores my soul.”