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Monday, August 19, 2013

DESOLATE PLACE

Mark  6:31 And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while".

(KJV refers to it as a desert place)

The disciples had just returned from a mission journey. They were no doubt pumped and eager to share with Jesus what they had taught and what they had witnessed along the way, including the knowledge of the beheading of John the Baptist.



But they were also exhausted, physically and mentally. There was still so much going on in their midst, they had no time for leisure, or even the simple task of eating.

So Jesus beckons for them to come  be with Him in a desolate place, a desert place.

"Desolate" in the dictionary can mean: barren, a wasteland, a treeless landscape, deprived of inhabitants, solitary, lonely, dreary, dismal.

He wanted them to be in a place where there was nothing at all to distract them from His presence. A place of total reliance on Him. To refresh them, He needed to have them in a place devoid of water, so to speak!

As I look at my own life, I see during times of great stress or busyness, I too have been led to a desolate place, where there is nothing but my Savior  When the circumstances of life have crowded and hemmed me in, and I am brought to my knees in utter surrender. A place where my choices are limited or none at all, where I have been abandoned and left forlorn, a place where all I see is Him.

It's only then that I am able to see with clarity, to hear His words spoken for me. In this barren landscape that my heart sits, in this place of pain where everything within me cries out in thirst. Desperate for the refreshment only He can give.

Sometimes we need the desolate place, we need to retreat here to be with Jesus. And there are times He has to take us there against our will.

In this wasteland where hope seems lost......the greatest treasures are found.  We can't find them in the good times, we can't find them in the plenty. We can't find them in the times where we have no need of Him because we are too busy being self sufficient.

In this chapter of Mark, we read that the time alone was brief, because the people followed them  even more came from all cities to see Jesus.

The pressures of our own lives also chase after us, threatening to once again hem us in. Those pressures don't necessarily diminish just because we have gone away to rest awhile. But what does happen is a new source of strength and purpose that God plants in us.

Quite simply, what God pours into us, while in the desolate place, can then be poured out as we re-enter the circumstances we were unable to cope with before.

It's hard to feel thankful when we are beset by trials, and during these times the thought of being in the desert is far from appealing! We want the quick fix, minimal pain. We want God to wave a magic wand and put a stop to our pain.

But when He leads us to this solitary place with Him, we find that as the layers are removed, along with the unraveling of our thoughts and desires, there is something so precious, so intrinsically ours alone....something so profound He wants to reveal....it actually turns this desert into a beautiful oasis.

Psalm 42:1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.

Psalm 42:11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.