Retreat and Reflect
by Judy Webb
There is a devotional called “Streams in the Desert” which I read from most days. I have been using this book since sometime in 2007. There are numerous notes in the margins and references to my daily journal where I recorded some of my prayers and praises on a given day. I mention this because as I was reading our selected text for this day it was verse 80 which had my attention.
Luke 1:80 (NIV)
“And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.”
I wanted to know about this child who lived in the desert. I am assuming he didn’t live there alone; then I thought about the land of Jesus’ birth and realized it is desert. So the significance to the words lived in the desert, must have more meaning to it. Life in the desert prepared John for the tremendous job ahead of him. By not being exposed to "city living," God had his attention. This lifestyle may also have prepared him for the physical aspect of his future – blazing the trail for his cousin Jesus.
Following my husbands death I retreated to a desert of sorts. During that year I experienced a quiet and a stillness which allowed God to speak to me and prepare me for the next leg of my journey. While I am not comparing myself to John the Baptist, I know firsthand how much closer to God one can get when not encumbered by all the noise in the world.
There is value in being able to find a desert spot in which to withdraw, if not live, for a season. When was the last time you experienced a spiritual and physical retreat? Is it time for you to consider planning for your next stage in life; why not find a desert spot somewhere, if only for a day, and retreat with God. You will grow in many ways and return rested, ready and refreshed for tomorrow.
Dear Jesus, help me recognize when I need time alone with you. Show me how valuable that time spent in retreat, far away from the noise and crowds of each day, is to the peace and calm of time spent with you only. Amen.