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On Retreat with Jesus

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”” (Mark 6:31, NIV) 

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to get away to Wilmore, Kentucky and stay at the Inspire House for the weekend.  When we first thought about taking this retreat (in June), the plan was to bring a couple friends and just get away to rest.  It felt like an invitation from the Lord to us. 

As is often the case, we didn’t realize how needed the invitation would be.  We’ve been in a busy and hard season for the last couple months…a new baby, trials in our ministry context, relational challenges with friends and family…we were pretty worn down in our souls.  And just between us, it’s not like we live at some crazy unsustainable pace.  We are pretty thoughtful about our calendars, intentionally scheduling margin and being disciplined about purposeful time with the Lord.  All in all, we’d been (mostly) living within our rules of life. 

After getting donuts at Fitch’s IGA on Saturday morning (for the family of course!), I took a walk around the campuses of Asbury Seminary and University respectively.  It struck me that, just about 6 months before, those campuses were anything but quiet.  But on this cool morning in early fall, the leaves were just beginning to change, the students were all asleep (I’m guessing), and we had truly found a “quiet place” with the Lord.  It’s so easy to get caught up looking for God in the big moments and large crowds.  And of course, he’ll show up there.  In my experience though, he’s just as willing (if not more so) to manifest his glorious presence in the quiet moments and small gatherings of humble followers seeking nothing but him. 

My wife, Wendy, and I came into the weekend with a lot of questions, trusting that the Lord would meet us as he needed to and give us whatever he wanted.  Better than that, he was eager and ready to give us what we needed and what we wanted.  I find it all too easy to forget that it delights the Father to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32).

As we drove home, we spent a lot of time reflecting and praising God for his goodness and faithfulness.   We found times of real solitude and real rest capped by times of genuine fellowship and authentic community.  

We didn’t get answers to all our questions. In fact, we might even have more questions now than before the weekend! But we did get a clear direction and plenty of wisdom.  We came home with a peace we haven’t known in months. 

And best of all, we received love and grace in abundance. It was as though the Lord told us, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it with good things.” (Psalm 81:10) 

Stephen and his wife, Wendy, are on mission with Jesus and their daughters in Tennessee, USA.

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