A Quiet Place
It was the last few days of two weeks at Sanctuary, our small cabin buried deep among the pines of the Wet Mountains. It’s the place my husband and I go to refresh and refuel.
One day I received texts from two different friends, both sharing their great weariness. They were in the midst of people, appointments, and do-lists—as I had been so recently. But now I was listening to breezes and the chatter of birds, savoring uninterrupted, leisurely quiet times, watching the clouds, tackling Sudoku puzzles, and reading a good novel. They were giving out; I was taking in.
I was reminded of God’s creation account in Genesis 1 and 2. On days one through five, God created all those things I was enjoying at our Sanctuary. He called them “good.” On the sixth day, He created man in His image and called all He had made “very good.” And then on the seventh day, God rested. He called that day “holy.”
Our time of rest, too, is holy time. It is holy, but it is not forever. Jesus led His disciples away from the demands of ministry for a time. “And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31, ESV). What can we learn from His invitation?
“Come away.” Jesus called the disciples to leave behind their “normals”—their do-lists, the crowds, their ministry—and join Him.
“With me.” The New International Version adds the small but crucial phrase, “with me.” Jesus isn’t sending the disciples away, He is inviting them to come away with Him, to let Him be their companion. Our Sanctuary is for us (Bill and me) a unique place to go and be with Jesus . . . and each other.
“By yourselves.” At this point there are still 12 disciples. Jesus invites all of them—12 like-hearted men. No one is left out.
“To a desolate place.” The NIV as well as the NLT (New Living Translation) says, “a quiet place.” A desolate place is usually a quiet place—a place to listen intentionally and enjoy what God has created.
“And rest.” One size fits all does not apply to rest. My husband rests best with quiet music in the background; I prefer quiet . . . except for the sounds of God’s creation.
We did something different on this retreat: We kept our phones on “silent.” I still checked my messages and emails morning and evening, but I did it on my schedule, not when my phone alerted me that a new message had arrived. It’s like an ad I tore out and hung on our refrigerator at home. It features a peaceful nature scene and the slogan, “The best way to recharge is to unplug.”
“A while.” The rest our cabin provides does not last forever. It is for a while. There is a time to return. When we returned last week, I knew that there were phone calls waiting to be made. I made them from the place of quiet God worked in my life during our days at the cabin.
The disciples’ time of rest was not two weeks long. They were quickly tossed back into ministry. That often is our experience as well.
Jesus still calls His disciples to “Come away with me and rest a while.” His invitation is His gift to each of us. When Bill and I respond, we savor the times God graciously provides. When can you next get away to a quiet place?