As is often the scenario, thirteen people of a variety of ages scrunched into a space better suited for eight, in a familiar restaurant for breakfast after church one Sunday morning,
The busyness of the restaurant and the various conversations going on at the same time, competing to be heard above the others who were also dinning, was for me a bit much. Maybe I was tired; maybe I was tired of people.
I had just come off of a few days of shopping with a friend, visiting long into the night with my sister, attending a highly anticipated yearly reunion with old friends in the city I grew up in, lunch with a few high school girl friends, dinner with more friends, a very emotional celebration of life with about 500 in attendance, and a fun and chaotic few hours with our children and grandchildren.
I am sure some of you can relate to the weekend overload I experienced.
While eating my breakfast that Sunday morning, I looked at my husband at the very opposite end of the many little tables pushed together. Our eyes met and with the familiar smile we realized how we both longed to be in our home with only each other, and peace and quiet.
Now, so as not to be misunderstood, I need to say that we love eating with friends and sharing our thoughts and lives with those we have just worshiped with. And thankfully we get to enjoy that very often. However, this Sunday I really felt the weight of all of the chatter, and most of all my friends’ needs. There are so many hurts and challenges and the incredible busyness of lives (not just ours) makes a person exhausted just listening to it.
I wanted to wiggle my nose and let everyone around me freeze in place. No talking, no moving, nothing. I wanted just a few minutes of silence. I even fanaticized walking around the frozen people, the staff, and the kitchen crew, talking to them and relishing the fact that they couldn’t even see me so they would not respond. And then after I enjoyed my meal in peaceful solitude, I would clear my own dishes, pour myself another cup of coffee and wiggle my nose again, letting everyone come back to life.
Just a little nothingness – that’s what I longed for. Is that what it was like for Jesus sometimes?
The truth is, my needing of nothingness would not have been so intense had I taken the time to be alone with God on a more consistent basis prior to that incredible weekend. I didn’t only need a time without people; I needed a time with my God.
Jesus himself did this. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed… One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God” (Luke 5:16, 6:12)
In one of his blog posts Bill Gaultiere says the following…
“In Psalm 23 our Good Shepherd invites us to experience the “He restores my soul” shower of divine blessing. First, we need to abandon everything to him, praying, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Then we express this attitude with our bodies by lying down in his green pastures (doing nothing productive and not trying to make anything happen) and letting him lead us beside his still waters (Psalm 23:1-3).
I waste so much time and energy being busy and always in a hurry. I worry about things that I have no control over. You Father are in control. All you ask of me is to pray and trust. Forgive me for not resting in You.
Help me slow down and often bathe in your living water (Your precious Word). Long, slow baths, soaking in your revitalizing words, listening to your Holy Spirit, refreshing myself in your oil of gladness.
Help me Lord to obey you as you tell me to… “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
In the beautiful name of Jesus, Amen.