So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. Mark 6:32
How do you handle those “in-between” times in your life? I’m currently in one and I’m not sure I like it. As someone who likes to be busy and accomplishing things, I’ve noticed that schedules tend to revolve around the school-year calendar. I remember when the kids were in school, once school ended, the lazy days of summer hit and life slowed down…or maybe it sped up depending on a vacation plan.
Now as a retiree, I’ve noticed that the calendar still controls my activity.There is an ebb and flow in daily activities as the seasons change. When the snowbirds head out in Spring, everything slows down; classes end, the heat hits, and people stay indoors. It feels like I’m waiting for everyone to get back in the Fall so that we can get going again.
This morning I asked my granddaughter, Kate, what she’s doing these days. “Nothing, just hanging out.” Of course, she has already been to camp and VBS but right now she’s in-between time before she visits us next month.
So is down time good? Isaac Watts once said,
“In works of labour, or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.”
Idle time can get us in serious trouble, so what did Biblical characters do with their “in-between” times.
After ministering day and night to thousands of people, Jesus needed some time apart — He was exhausted. In Mark 6:31, Jesus says to his apostles, “’Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.” How many times have you ended the school year, just hanging on by a thread because it has been so crazy-busy? Take Jesus’ example and find a quiet place to rest…time to replenish all the emotional resources that have been used up and recover from the exhaustion. We need a vacation! Ahhh, summer. Even the change of pace will make a huge difference.
But there are moments when we are taken by surprise by those down times. A good example is the prophet Elijah. God gave him a miraculous victory over the wicked King Ahab. Yet, after it was all over, the prophet crashed and burned, ready to die. Isn’t it just like the enemy to take away our joy after a great moment of triumph and keep us looking down instead of up? God knew how discouraged he was and took him away from the battle so he could sleep and eat. Elijah had given all he had and his body, soul, and spirit needed time to heal. God would send him out to work once he was back on his feet. Don’t fight and argue when God takes you out of the battle so you can rest. He knows your limits. Trust Him and come away for a bit.
My challenge is to keep doing what I know is right. Taking a vacation from prayer and Bible study is the last thing I should do…talk about Satan getting in and making mischief! Rather, take advantage of the freedom from schedules to visit with friends, read a good book, take in an exhibit — all just for fun. No agenda. Find a day and spend it with Jesus. Let Him fill up your soul.
Yes, that busy season is right around the corner but in-between time, I’ve replenished my spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical reserves. Ready?