“Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself…”
Today I did something I’ve never done willingly. I took a day completely off.
Earlier this year I went through what most people like to call “burn out” and it was one of the worst things I could’ve experience. Different circumstances arose and I went through a disappointing situation. I felt like I was back in the mindset that I had tried so hard to over come. I began having bitterness towards the same types of people that had hurt me before, became physically sick, emotionally drained, and felt like I had to keep going with a smile on my face. As I continued to push forward my body was not having it. That’s when I was pulled aside and told that I had to go on a personal retreat. Through that experience God gave me so many promises to refocus on and I rested.
The past couple of weeks have not been the easiest. I’ve had to see one of my closest friends walk with her mom through a horrible season of cancer, have had family drama galore, and have had interviews and orientations for a new job (which isn’t bad but it’s still change.) In all of this I have had a deep longing to just rest and have been scared that “burn out” would try to come again.
“…But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children…”
Until now I never realized that Jesus wanted to withdraw after He heard that John the Baptist died, but He had to continue. He had to choose to trust that His Father would give Him rest in the perfect timing. So He continued and poured out until He had nothing left. Then He got what He needed.
Through this story you notice that Jesus prayed.
Most of the time I know when I am getting drained but 99% of the time when God tells me to continue until His timing comes, I don’t do what Jesus did. When we choose not to include our God in the day to day challenges things become overwhelming. Jesus could have dismissed every single one of those people but He saw the opportunity to love them was greater than His opportunity to rest, and He relied on God’s blessing to provide for the people. Jesus knew that God meant it when He said, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. ” (Psalm 84:5, 7 ESV). He knew that His father promised Him that ” they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 ESV). So He waited and God provided strength until the rest came.
“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,” (Matthew 14:13-23 )
After people had experienced the love of God through Jesus, and Jesus experienced the promises of God, giving Him strength, God gave Jesus what He needed.
Time to rest may come when you realize you could get away for a day, rest could come in the company of a great friend, rest can come in that random dust tornado as you’re driving by, rest can come in that song you just discovered. Regardless of how rest comes, the truth that you must hold onto His presence while you’re pushing and trust that rest will come.