Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Jesus is… God of the Miraculous

As I continue to unpack all that Jesus is through the reading of the Gospel of Mark, something that clearly stood out in today’s chapters, was that Jesus is the God of the miraculous. There are two specific stories in chapter six alone, that demonstrate the miraculous power of God, presented in Jesus Christ.

 

First, when Jesus and the disciples had sought a solitary place to rest and reflect, they ended up surrounded by a crowd of more than five-thousand. Late in the day, the disciples recognized the people’s need for nourishment. They asked Jesus to send them away so that they could find food, but Jesus had another option in mind. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then He gave them to His disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. – (Mark 6:41-42) Though the disciples did not recognize the miraculous power present in Jesus to provide for all of the people prior to that point, Jesus patiently demonstrated His deity as He delivered nourishment to meet the needs of the people.

 

After all had been fed, Jesus had His disciples get in the boat and go on ahead of Him to Bethsaida, so that He could go up on the mountainside to pray. While the disciples were crossing the lake, the wind came up and they were struggling and straining to cross. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night He went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw Him walking on the lake, the thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. – (Mark 6:48-50a) Jesus had to tell them that they did not need to be afraid. Rather than continue walking past them, …He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. – (Mark 6:51) Jesus again presented the miraculous power of God, as He walked on water and calmed the storm. He did not just speak for the storm to cease from far away, but Jesus walked to the disciples and climbed into the boat – He met them exactly where they were, and then all became calm.

 

The very same Jesus is alive and active today. The miraculous power of God is present and available to all who earnestly seek Him. Jesus sees and knows our needs, and is ready to sit beside us in our storms. May we seek Him with all that we are, and recognize the miraculous power of God that is present and active all around us.

 

The power of God,Jesus is God of the Miraculous

miraculous One;

united in Christ,

magnificent Son.

Jesus is able,

to love and provide;

to touch and draw near,

to all whom abide.

He sees where we lack,

every need known;

Jesus is able,

miraculous shown.

And when the storms come,

He’ll draw close, be near;

bring calm to our soul,

and cast out all fear.

 

Dear Jesus, thank You that You are God of the miraculous. Thank You that You know our needs before we do, and You are ready and able to provide. Thank You that You come close, and remain present, even when storms rage around us. Forgive us for not turning to You in our times of need, and for not reaching for You in the throes of the storm. Teach us to trust You more, so that our response in all things and at all times, is to cling to You. Help us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Jesus. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your provision and rely on Your presence. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5