“But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places for prayer.” (CEB)
Yesterday I wish I had taken a page out of Jesus’ life from the Gospel of Luke. I only share this because I feel that if I have had a day like this, then certainly there are others who have too. Yesterday morning I woke up to a phone call from my wife saying that her tire had gone flat on the way to work. Quickly, without even changing out of my bed clothes, I got Parker off to day care and rushed to the aid of my wife. Sure enough, as I come to her aid, her tire is flat. She takes my truck to work while I think about my options with a broken down van. I knew there was no jack because I had bent it the last time I fixed a flat for her. So I grabbed the jack from my truck before she left. However, I had not realized her tools (Lug-wrench, tool to get the spare out from underneath the van) were missing too. In God’s good graces, we recently purchased AAA. However, I had run out of the house this morning so quickly, I had forgot my allergy medicine and was suffering for it. But 45 minutes later AAA comes to my rescue. Upon doing an inspection of the tire to see what my wife had hit, I came up empty handed as the tire had worn out completely on the inside of the tire. And then came the reasoning, “If this tire looks like this, I should check the other front tire too.” And to my dismay, the other tire was just about to wear out as well. Once again, in God’s good graces, I was able to drive the car home without anymore complications.
I wish I could say that this story ended here.
But it does not. I suppose I felt like adding fuel to a fire. But anytime an unexpected incident comes up, the first thing I check is our finances and ask the question, “How are we going to afford this?” This question leads to other questions as I continue pouring energy into our finances. Mind you, it is not yet even 9:00 AM. As I am working on these finances, another dilemma comes to mind. Just the day before I had told some friends whom we haven’t seen in over a year that they could come and stay with us the last weekend of June. Which, that in and of itself is no dilemma. Except that I also had invited another family to stay with us that same weekend. It has already become too much!
Too many irons in the fire.
It is at any point in this morning I should have listened to teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. But instead of withdrawing for prayer, I leaped right into the workday. With all of this wearing on my mind and spirit, I continued in. And in doing so, the day was a wash. Very little fruits were borne simply by not taking time for prayer and righting my spirits.
I wish I could say that it had no affect on me or others that day, but this was not so. Again I only bring this to light because I believe others too have been in this place. Later that night I had a worship team meeting. As this meeting began, all seemed well, but all was not. With the day’s events and because I never took care of my spiritual needs, I was on edge at this meeting. I was quick to anger, sharing snide remarks, and altogether unpleasant. Within me was not a spirit of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
And so, I left a day that God created, a day that could’ve been full of ministry and opportunity, exhausted, empty, and void of fruit. And now, the day after I question, what if at the beginning, when I was feeling overwhelmed, had I taken a page from the Gospel of Luke and, like Jesus, had retreated to a deserted place for prayer? How different would that worship team meeting have gone? How different would my spirits and emotional state have been as I laid my head on the pillow?
Do not fall victim by pride or any other foolish reason to not withdraw to a deserted place for prayer.