Time alone with God…interrupted

by: Carole L. Haines

13 Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:13-14)

 His cousin John had just been beheaded. John’s head had been treated as sport to be mocked and displayed in Herod’s palace. Jesus had grown up with this boy. They were both announced by God before their birth, their mother’s went through part of their pregnancy together.  They were both prophesied as being special envoys of God to the world.  John Himself reveals that He didn’t know Jesus was the Messiah until the day of His baptism.
29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’31 I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.33 I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’34 I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29-34)

All Jesus wanted to do after John’s beheading was have some time alone to grieve him. This beloved, childhood companion was now gone.  They had a bond that was close, I believe.  But Jesus’ grief got interrupted. The people followed him, seeking healing and wholeness.  Jesus was not angry but felt compassion for them and healed them.  Then He sought time alone again and sent his disciples ahead of Him in a boat, while He stayed behind.

Jesus is our amazing example of how to respond when life is hard and all we want to do is go off and be alone for a while.  He treated the people who needed Him with compassion and love.  He did not scold them but received them openly and with healing in His hands.  God will provide us with the time we need apart, as we trust Him with the time He has us ministering to others.  Being a pretty extreme introvert, I would like to spend most of my time alone, but that is not God’s call for me.  He provides what I need without excusing me from His Kingdom Work.  He is perfect in His understanding of what we need and is drawing us close to Himself in the quiet times as well as in the busy times.

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Conflicted


By: Carole L. Haines

My son has often expressed that some of his favorite characters in movies and stories are the ones who are conflicted. You can tell they want to do good, as succeed at times, but they also have a dark side to them that is unpredictable and scary.  The Bible has characters who express this as well. They are aware of their dark side, but long to do right and be holy. David and Paul are two great examples of these kind of Characters. Paul expresses it this way:

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.  (Romans 17:8 NASB)

David expresses it another way:

Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.
Preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O You my God, save Your servant who trusts in You.
(Psalm 86: 1-2)

David reveals himself as needy, conflicted, weak; yet also as godly and trusting in the Lord. Too often I think we feel guilty when this conflicted nature shows up inside of us, but it was right there inside of two of the godliest men who ever walked the earth.

When we see this inside of ourselves, often we try to cover it up, like Adam and Eve did, with fig leaves and hiding from God.  But God calls us to do something else when we feel conflicted like this. 

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
 (Heb. 4:12-13)

The Word of God examines us, it reveals things about us, such as our motives and intentions. We are then told that nothing is hidden from God’s sight, so running and hiding like Adam and Eve tried to do, if not only futile, it’s defeating the purpose for which our sin is revealed to us. So, what do we do? The next verses from the above Scripture tells us exactly what to do.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 12:14-16)

We still run, not from the sin; but we run to the throne of God, to our Great High Priest. Jesus the Son of God.  We need to look at one another through this lens of truth.  When your brother or sister in Christ seems conflicted, pray for them, acknowledging the same plight within yourself. When we embrace this within ourselves and train ourselves to run quickly to the throne of Grace whenever we feel its grip; we can be used of God to help others learn to Run toward God, instead of away from Him when conflicted.  So, let us come boldly, together, with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may, together, receive mercy and grace to help each other in time of need. lsdu