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