Jesus said to the apostles, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest awhile.”

Mark 6: 31


Jesus and His small band of close followers, the apostles, were living very hectic lives. There was much to do, and they were continually in motion. The demands of life were such that it seems that they weren’t finding the time for such basic activities as eating. This bone-wearying pace was theirs, and the world that they lived in didn’t even have instant news. In our times Jesus and His followers would have had an even harder time in finding some peace and quiet away from the demands of the crowds. All of this is a rather long way around to the thought that it seems clear to me that God truly understands our real need for times of escape and for the inner calm that comes in times of God-seeking isolation.


The same words that Jesus spoke to the apostles are ones that I hear Him speaking into my over-extended life. Christ wants me to leave all of the commitments and the responsibilities behind. In jealousy He desires my full attention, for Christ knows that a divided heart and mind, as we often are in our modern multi-tasking approach to living, will not be very attentive to His voice. My Lord wants me to allow Him to be exactly that, the Lord of my entire being. He calls upon me to go out to a place where there are no distractions and where there is no possibility that life’s urgencies will be able to grab me. Even if it is only for a short time, Christ wants me to be able to openly and honestly speak the deepest desires and needs of my heart. He leads me to find a place where silence permits my ears an opportunity to truly hear His voice.


We are not usually called by God to leave this world permanently or even for extended periods of time; rather, He typically asks that we take regular, short breaks away from the noise, the clutter, and the commitments of life in order to focus our complete attention on Him. In the story as told in Mark, the apostles had only a short amount of time as they traveled across the lake in a boat. The crowds rapidly found them again on the other side. It seems to be a universal truth that life and its urgency has a way of always finding the people who God has chosen and equipped to bring His answers to its situations. In fact, this is the reason why we need to purpose and to plan to take these breaks from life, to go alone to a desolate place where Christ’s voice is all that we can hear. For in these times and in this place, Christ brings His will into clearer focus and He grants the weary spirit rest.