“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
Have you ever known someone who felt incredibly guilty if they ever sat down or lay down to rest? Maybe you are even like that! But God never intended for us to punish our bodies, minds, and spirits by continual motion and trauma. Why do you think He started us all out by saving one day out of every seven for a day of rest?
Jesus said, “Come with me,” “by yourselves,” “to a quiet place” and “get some rest.” The disciples who had beenso stressed by the crowds clustering around Jesus were being invited by their Lord to “come with him”–with him!
“By yourselves”–church retreats usually give us opportunities to have quiet times just for ourselves. You need a chance to “be you” with God, ask all those stupid questions you wouldn’t want to ask even in hearing of your spouse. But it doesn’t have to be a church retreat. It can be your own retreat. I find great “rest” and strengthening from an hour spent in a nearby cemetery where I sit under a cedar tree while I read the Bible, listen for His voice, and talk to Him. On family vacations it may be hard to find those “times alone,” but try getting up ahead of everyone else, or excusing yourself for a quick walk down the beach alone. Use your imagination to make it happen. I really like it when our motel has a balcony. Even if Charles and I both resort to quiet times at the same time, we know what the deal is and we give each other space.
“To a quiet place”–I’ve already mentioned “my” cemetery. I seem to have always had an affection for pretty cemeteries. I don’t mean the sterile, overly marble ones with no sign of plants except containers of plastic flowers. I’m talking about old cemeteries with gnarled cedars and pines where birds have a place to sing and where you can almost hear Jesus’ quiet footsteps only a few feet away. But, of course, there are many quiet places, maybe just a corner in your own living room, or on your knees beside your bed. That’s one of my favorite places when I’m really “praying through” something or feel extra concerns about someone.
“And get some rest”–it may be that you’ve gone through a grieving time, a particularly stressful time in your job or in your family, a nightmare experience of some sort, or just an extremely busy time. You may need to carefully explain to your loved ones that you need “a few days” just for yourself, either away from home or nearby. This would probably be impossible if your family is still very young. I do not recommend your abandoning little children! I remember reading about a woman who locked herself along with meager supplies in her extra bathroom and simply wouldn’t come out for a week. She had pillows in the bathtub, some crackers and cheese, and plenty of water.
Physical rest is important. Mental rest is important. Spiritual rest is very important, not struggling but snuggling in the Lord’s everlasting arms. Try it! For Jesus’ sake!