Retreat   Leave a comment

The Gospel accounts tell us of several occasions when Jesus would retreat by himself to lonesome places, primarily to pray.  This practice is amazing to experience but missing from most folk’s schedule.

Sadly, my schedule frequently joins that of others who just don’t seem to get away very often to be alone with God.

I went on a “Gathering of Silence” retreat once again this spring and have again come back spiritually refreshed.  During this time, speaking is not permitted with the exception of evenings between 7:30 and 9:00 when the ministers gather together to share thoughts and insights.  Even this time is optional.

The retreat is in the mountains which are absolutely beautiful, but my knees simply won’t allow me to take advantage of the readily available hiking trails.  Therefore, most of my activities are restricted to the main campus area.  I even have to drive to the meals because of the steepness of the road to the dining hall.

Knowing this, last year I took with me more work than could be humanly achieved in 3½ days and nights.  While I achieved much, I returned home just as tired as when I had left.  This year, all I took were a couple of books, my Bible, a notepad, and a couple of “tinkering” projects I have been waiting to work with.

In preparation for this adventure, I asked God for something I never thought I’d ask of him – nothing.  I didn’t ask for any specific insights or visions.  I didn’t ask for any great messages or Bible studies to prepare or enjoy.  I didn’t ask for any special revelation in regards to my spiritual, family, or even leadership situations.  I asked for “nothing” and got exactly what I asked for.

A story is told of a little girl who came home late from school one day and announced to her mother that she had been consoling the widow next door whose husband had just died a couple of days prior.  Fearing the need to make great restitution to her neighbor, she asked the child what she did to comfort this lady.  The little girl answered something to the effect of, “I just crawled up onto her lap, put my arms around her, and cried with her.”

While I had no reason for sorrow on the mountain, I did have need for God’s lap.  All I needed was to put myself there, and He wrapped His loving arms around me and just held me.  Nothing else was needed.

Jesus said that we should go to him with everything we have and everything we are.  He doesn’t promise to solve all of our dilemmas, but he does promise us one key thing – REST!

May I suggest a spiritual retreat for you?  Even if you can only get away for half of one day, a time alone with the Lord will do you much good.  There’s no need to take an agenda, or anything else as far as that goes.  Just climb into God’s lap, wrap your arms around Him, ask Him to simply hold you, and peace of mind and heart will be yours.

 

Posted September 11, 2008 by David N. Peppler, Sr. in Closeness to God

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