Monday, June 17, 2013

Rediscovering God's Presence

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out,
and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.
And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.
And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns,
that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.
And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.
MARK 1: 35-39

Jesus is in demand. He takes an early-morning break to pray. Simon's desperate words interrupt his time away: "Everyone is looking for you!" (NiV). It must have been tough for Jesus to hear those words. I'm sure that he was acutely aware of how precious his time, energy, and presence were during his earthly ministry. Yet, Jesus took time to be alone.

Mark's Gospel is the shortest of the four Gospels and offers a straightforward collection of the sayings and deeds of Jesus during his ministry. Luke and Matthew seemed to feel a little more freedom to include additional narratives and explanations in their Gospels. Mark, however, includes only what he believes to be most critical to convey his mes­sage. And here it is, a few precious verses carefully tucked within Mark's narrative to remind the reader of the impor­tance of taking time in solitude to pray.

Perhaps this simple event, retold in the years after Jesus' death, left an impression on the early Christians: "You will always face demands and a need to manage expectations. In order to do so, you have to make time for silence and prayer. It is great to be needed and wanted. But these desires can easily become unhealthy, driving you to do things for the wrong reasons and even to become taxed and burdened by doing well."

Mark's Gospel reminds us, as it has done for centuries that even Jesus found a solitary place to meet with God and listen. This encounter helped him maintain balance and find the right perspective, pace, direction, and intention for his daily life and ministry.

Loving God, I choose to withdraw from the demands and expectations of my daily life to be alone with you. Give me the courage to seek you and your will first. Guide my thoughts and actions today. Amen.
--Dion Forster, Listen, Dakotas Ann Conf.

God Is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Content Producer

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