Let's face it. Our lives are crazy. We have our own to-do lists and then the world has it's own priorities that just gets dumped on our plates. We are maxed out; there is no room for error. When can we find rest? Catch a break? Slow down?
Though we tend to think of Jesus as a peaceful meandering rabbi, roaming leisurely about the countryside preaching his message, the life of Jesus was not as restful as we might like to believe.
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them. That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. Mark 1:29-34
As soon as Jesus finished in one place, he moved to the next. He taught he healed; he comforted people. In some cases, whole towns followed after him, pressing in, just trying to get a little closer. Sometimes he moved quickly to avoid those trying to arrest him. Either way, Jesus often had no place to rest his head.
He knew what is was like to be hurried, to feel tired, to be maxed out. For this we can be thankful, for it is how he responded to this busy life that we, too, can learn how to free ourselves from the frenzied pace we often find ourselves on.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
Several times in scripture, we read that Jesus left, went to a solitary place, and prayed alone. This type of prayer was not normal for the day. Often it was a corporate and public prayer that was seen as the most 'religious'. But Jesus wasn't concerned with that. Instead, he valued true communion and connection with God, his Father.
From this, we learn that when we are maxed out, overwhelmed, hurried, we too can:
1. Disengage- remove ourselves from society, leave the busy family room, log out of social media, say 'no' to yet another meeting.
2. Go to a solitary place- because our world is so connected, it is easy to disconnect from one place and get immediately 'plugged in' somewhere else. We leave work, get in the car and turn on talk radio, get home to a busy family, sit down and scroll through the news feed. None of this is truly solitary, though it can be isolating. Solitary means 'existing alone'. This may be scary, but hang in there; let's move to the next step.
3. Pray- To pray, like Jesus prayed, to experience the rejuvenation that allowed him to get up and keep moving, we must disconnect, exist alone, and only then, can we experience the connection, the coming together with God that gives us life.
For Jesus, and for us, prayer can be a place to reconnect with God, receive respite, guidance, and equipping for the task at hand, especially when we are feeling weary.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.