And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next town, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came.”
— Mark 1:35-39 ESV
The context of this passage is replete with all that Jesus was doing at the beginning of his ministry. His days are filled with healing, speaking, solving problems, defending himself, not to mention the constant walking!
Although he is surrounded by people with their demands and needs, he sneaks away early in the morning to pray and be alone with His Father. When the disciples wake up – probably because the crowds were bothering them – the boys look for Jesus. Once they find him, Peter asks, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?? These people keep asking for you!”
How have you been feeling lately? Honestly, I’ve been experiencing waves of being overwhelmed, tired, or stressed out. I remember a time when we were living in Croatia that students would come over to our house and hang out night and day. I really felt like they followed me from room to room to watch how I handled my kids or talked to my husband or cooked our dinner. Usually, I enjoyed their presence with us, but at times, I would go into the bathroom and hope that they wouldn’t follow me in! I just needed a minute to breathe and to be alone.
Jesus in this passage finds time to be alone with the One who filled His tank. He got away in the dark of the morning and breathed deeply with God. Hours later when Peter found him and fussed at him for sneaking away, Jesus remains calm and unruffled, refusing to respond to the URGENT. He knows Who he is and what he is about and maintains his focus on what he is supposed to do.
When I get stressed out, I can easily believe that if I don’t do it (whatever is stressing me at present), IT WILL NEVER GET DONE!! And a frenetic energy surges out of me and into my relationships – causing everyone around me to stress out too. But Jesus models a different way…a way to sit with the Father and listen. When living from the wellspring of silence and stillness with our Father, we experience the richness of our relationship with him. It is with HIM that we find our centered peace, purpose, and rest…and then we move with that same peace into the world as a true reflection of our Savior rather than our frenetic selves.
Can you find some time today to be still? Maybe meditate on these verses in Mark and listen for God’s invitation of stillness and peace. Stay there until you sense that you’re ready to take His peace with you into the rest of your day.
Lord, help me remember that you are on the throne, not me. Help me to trust you with the things on my to-do list that I cannot finish. Deliver me from the whirlwind around me and IN me so that the peace and wisdom that emerge from silence and stillness might. radiate to those around me. Amen.