Take a deep breath, but be sure that Jesus is with you in your quiet place.
Kenneth R. Kratz
“Take a deep breath. You are at the lake.” Those are the words on our doormat. The words are so true for many people. Whether it is the gurgle of a stream, the steady movement of waves, or the glistening sun playing on the varied surface colors, water seems to dissolve the stresses and strains of life. Time by the water can clear our minds, relax our muscles, and renew us again for the rigors of our lives.
No wonder we try to get away from it all. Time away is valuable for us to get revitalized and to deepen family connections. Right now we are in the middle of vacation season, and resorts are bustling, campfires are numerous, highways are busy, and airports are humming with travelers.
Far from being wrong, time away can be God-pleasing. After all, even Jesus told his disciples, “Come . . . to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). Jesus sent the 12 disciples out to proclaim the Word. As they went sharing the gospel message, new tensions must have gripped them as they encountered not only challenges but challengers. Then there also was the excitement of the miraculous powers that Jesus had given them to authenticate the message they spoke. Now, these same disciples returned to Jesus needing time to share their experiences and process this entire episode in their new lives. But immediately the crowds surrounded them. They didn’t even have a moment to eat. Then Jesus invited them, “Get some rest.”
They needed to “get away from it all” for a while. Can’t we identify with that need? Isn’t that why we look forward to a weekend away; a vacation; yes, even a stay-at-home vacation? It can be important for the rhythm of a Christian life.
But please note—a key element was not quoted in Jesus words above. That key thought is what sets apart the Christian “getting away from it all” from the secular world. The complete statement of Jesus was, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
The disciples weren’t getting away without Jesus, but with Jesus. They weren’t escaping to a quiet place for the sake of being in a quiet place. They were going to a quiet place with Jesus.
How do we “get away from it all” with Jesus? Not to minimize the importance of worship, but might there be a myriad of ways we could cultivate that sense on vacation? Are we in the mountains and reminded of the strength and stability of the Lord in all we see? Are we in the desert or at a waterfall and notice a tender plant growing in a harsh or hard environment and we see the beauty and the wonder of God’s creative genius? Do we witness wild rapids or violent waves crashing on the shoreline and then see that same water quiet and gently moving in the breeze, knowing that the same is true of life. Sometimes we are in the rapids and sometimes in the quiet waters, but in all times the Lord is with us. Each setting can provide a teachable moment for parents to pass on great truths to their children.
Anticipate some relaxing time this summer? Great! Be sure that Jesus is with you in your quiet place.
Kenneth Kratz, a retired pastor, is a member at Immanuel, Kewaunee, Wisconsin.
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Author: Kenneth R. Kratz
Volume 104, Number 7
Issue: July 2017
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