I have been reading through the Gospel of Luke lately, maybe a chapter or two a day. I am reminded that no matter how many times I have heard stories of Jesus, a fresh read provides opportunity to discover new perspectives. A couple days ago I parked on Luke 5: 16, a verse that I have skipped over for the whole of my life—until now. It simply states a fact. “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Nothing profound at first, right? Until, that is, you dissect the implications here, processing every word with purpose and reason.
Let’s set the scene first of all. Jesus has just begun calling His disciples. People are in awe of this man! He just healed a man of leprosy, and word is spreading quickly. The typical human reaction to this type of popularity might be to flaunt these crazy powers, maybe become some sort of sideshow circus act. (Everyone watch as I halt the sun’s progress across the sky!) But Christ is humble. Christ knows that the glory should not be going to His power to heal; the glory should be going to God. So what does He do? Right as His fame is growing, He retreats to the wilderness to pray.
Think about that. To the wilderness. Otherwise a place where He can just get away from it all, focus on God, and seek God’s wisdom. We should not gloss over something as profound as this. How often do I go about the busyness of my day without making time for God? How often do I begin checking off my “to do” list, getting caught up in the busyness of life, forgetting to simply relax and reflect, quieting myself to God? Life is certainly crazy busy, but this week of Spring Break provides us the opportunity to unplug and reconnect with God through prayer. So where is your “wilderness” that you can retreat to? Maybe it is in your backyard, at a park, or perched on a comfy tree limb. Maybe it is in your basement swallowed in the pillows of your Lazyboy. Wherever that place may be, seek it out.
There is another word that strikes me as important in this verse. Often. This wasn’t a one-time thing for Jesus. He did this on a regular basis. It was as habitual as brushing His teeth before bed. Do you make a habit of prayer like that? And I am not talking about praying before meals, which by the way is good and should be another habit. I am talking about prayer that separates you from the busyness of life. Prayer that seeks God’s wisdom. Prayer that sets your mind straight on what God needs from you. Make time for that today. Step away for ten minutes and just listen. Quiet yourself to what you want to do, and listen for the nudge from God telling what He wants you to do.
Teachers are truly blessed with Spring Break. Warmer weather is creeping in. Nature is beginning to creep out of its winter shell to be seen in all its green glory. We have one week to spend with friends and family while the rest of the world has to continue on. Spring Break tends to be a week when either projects get done or travel plans cause craziness to your schedule. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the day get you wound even tighter than you already are. Follow Christ’s example. Find God this week. Reconnect with the Creator of the heavens and earth. Even if it is for a few minutes every afternoon, it will be well worth your time.