Going to a Lonely Place

I love the gospel of John. The Lord has used it to touch and change my heart on many occasions. It is the gospel I have studied the most and the one I was most eager to experience with you in our reading. But something has come up which requires me to postpone that shared experience. Careful readers will not be surprised.


Usually, this blog includes my reflections and insights from a portion of that week’s Bible reading. My last few articles contained something different. More than just a general observation about God’s work in the world, these last two identified some of God’s work in me. Here is a quick reminder of what I said:


In Fasting for Lent, I pondered what it takes to let go of one thing to make space for another and I couldn’t shake Luke’s words about how Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray. Our Lord’s regular lack of availability must have been frustrating for the disciples and the crowds. You can hear a little of it in Mark 1:37. After a thorough search, they found Jesus and said, “Everyone is looking for you!” And the tone probably added, “What are you doing here?” If my Lord needed this, now much more do I?


In The "Wee Little Man", I was led to muse on how God often prepares us to be a little aggressive in our pursuit of the Lord, even ignoring cultural expectations in order to engage with Jesus as He passes by. These words from last week summarize it well for me.


Where has God been priming me to do the unexpected in my effort to call out to Jesus? Have I been attentive to these things? Has my busyness kept them hidden from me or has my logical mind dismissed them as not being from my Lord?


There are several streams that are coming together in my life right now. I did not start these; they just sort of appeared. I shared one of them last week—how God has been inviting me to follow Jesus’ example to often depart to lonely places for prayer. Have I really heard this as His invitation or has this been swallowed by the “next thing” on my list? And what of the other streams that have appeared? If they truly are from the Lord of All Creation, have I given them the time and attention they deserve?


Can you see where this is going?


Not only has the Lord placed prayer on my heart, but He has also opened the way for me to pursue it. For this reason, I am taking three weeks away to head to a “lonely place” to pray. I won’t be going far. You will still see me around the neighborhood. I will be home every night to be with the family and will run errands on the weekend. Even so, I feel led to fully disconnect from ministry during this time so that I might create the quiet space I know I need.


So, I am going to do it. Like the blind man and Zacchaeus, I’m going to ignore the rebukes (in my mind) and climb the tree in order to better engage Jesus as He passes by. I know it will be inconvenient for some and frustrating for others, but this is what God has placed on my heart and made available for me to do. I will be out of the office from March 16 through April 5 and will not post another article until April 17 (the Friday after Easter). If you think of it, please offer a prayer for me, that the Lord will meet me where I am and offer to me whatever He’d like me to have.


What about you? Is the Lord inviting you this Lenten season to step out in some disruptive way, to let go of one thing in order to make space for another?


Walking with you,