(Matthew 14: 13-14 , The Message) When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully—someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick.
Sometimes we just want to be left alone. We get tired of the noise, and we crave the silence of solitude. I know that for me personally, being in a crowd can completely drain me, and eventually I need to be alone for a while so that I can regain my composure and find my sense of grace again.
Even though he was fully God, we know that Jesus was also a human being. When he learned of what had happened to John the Baptist, he was stricken with grief and, yes, he just wanted to be left alone.
I love instances like this…when we are allowed a glimpse into the humanity of Christ…when we get to connect with Him on our own level…when He feels like one of us…you know, a person who just needs a minute alone to process something difficult.
The humanity in Christ is what yearned for solitude. He had spent countless days and hours doing for others…healing, blessing, counseling and teaching. Every moment of his existence revolved around his ministry, and because he was also fully God, he was driven and compelled by his love for the thousands of people who followed him wherever he went. So when he couldn’t even be left alone for more than just a moment to grieve, instead of lashing out or hiding like many of us would do, Jesus responded with compassion for their needs.
When I am hurting or overwhelmed, I have a tendency to shut down. I don’t want to see anyone, I don’t want to talk to anyone, and I certainly don’t want to do anything for anyone. Just leave me alone, please. And though my intention is just to recharge, if I am not careful, it can evolve into a negative state of mind, leading me down a selfish path toward depression.
Let’s face it…everyone needs a break sometimes. Unlike Jesus, we aren’t fully God. Life can move at such a rapid pace, and we often get roped into doing so much, that we have to pump the brakes a little and pull over. So there isn’t anything wrong with taking a breather. However, like Jesus, we are called to a higher purpose…one that reaches beyond our own needs. As His ambassadors, His disciples, His own hands and feet on this earth, we have to put ourselves aside. We are called to a life of sacrifice…to crucify our flesh every day. Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
Today and every day, God is calling you to take up your own cross and follow His lead…to reach out, rather than withdraw…to respond to the needs of others, even when you can’t seem to see beyond your own needs…to love, even when you feel unloved…to come out of hiding.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, when I am weary of doing good, when I am tired of people and I just want to hide, help me put myself aside. When I am having trouble remembering my purpose, and when I am functioning in selfishness, help me put myself aside. Thank you for the rest and peace that I find in You, and that when I am following Your lead I will never faint or lose my way. Amen.