Retreat With the Lord
This week, Pastor Kory, Pastor Yasu, and I are at the conference’s pastors’ retreat in Northern California. While we miss the church and our families, it has been a good time to see other pastors and break from the normal routine of everyday life. At the retreat, we worship, pray, hangout, learn together, and discuss conference business. But perhaps most importantly, we spend time with the Lord. To me, one of the keys of a good retreat is spending time alone with God. In a world where we’re inundated with technology, media, people, stress, and work from the moment we wake up, quiet time with the Lord is a refuge. To “retreat” is to slow down and seek God’s peace and guidance. Being away from home (sorry kids), away from the kids (sorry Renae), away from the normal demands of life, at a Franciscan retreat center certainly makes this easier, but quiet time with the Lord is meant to be a regular part of our everyday routine.
In the gospels, we read that Jesus regularly went to isolated places to spend time with God in quiet and in prayer. Sometimes He would do this in the early morning or sometimes it was at the end of the day. This was a priority for Him despite the disciples, the crowds, the demands, and the busy schedule. Isaiah 40:31 says “those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Building time into our day – 10 minutes, 20 minutes, however God leads – to pray, read, or sit in silence before the Lord can be life-giving.
I think we naturally understand the importance of taking a break at work or having down time when busy or tired, but we also need frequent space from the constant noise of the world, the pressures of life, and the effects these things have on our bodies and souls. As it says in Isaiah above, when you spend time alone with God, you not only gain renewal of physical strength, you also enjoy spiritual refueling and refreshment. So even though you may not be able to go to the mountains or a place where we are now, I want to encourage you to find a regular time and space to retreat, to slow down, to spend time alone with God, and seek His peace, guidance, and reassurance of His love for you.