I was supposed to have dinner with my mom and her friend tonight. We did, and I carved out a few minutes (literally, 3 or 4) to arrive early so I could get some reading in.
I happened upon this in Matthew 14:
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.
This comes right on the heels of John the Baptist being beheaded, a tragic event that seemed to have an effect on Christ. Consider his response: he withdrew.
Now, of course Jesus wasn’t affected by grief as a sinful human would be. Christ was God — totally and completely. But there’s a lesson here, I think, and please understand this isn’t me offering a definitive opinion.
Christ hears news that is distressing and sad. He is not, of course, surprised by this (He’s God), but being human as well, some emotion comes into play. So, as Christ did on more than one occasion, He withdrew from the crowds that followed Him, presumably to pray quietly and alone to His Father. He didn’t pray openly, or weep to gain attention. He simply went to be alone with His Father.
Think about this: Jesus Christ (you know, the Messiah; the Son of Man; the Son of God; the King of Kings, etc) went alone to pray in a moment of grief and sadness.
I wanted to give you a moment to dwell on that. If He needed to pray, then what of us? Suddenly this makes a lot more sense:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Paul means what he says. That verse never ceases to challenge me. I could read it everyday for a year and it would convict me deeply every time.
Today, the question is clear. How do I handle deep challenges and grief? Do I run into my thoughts and logic, concocting plans? Or do I simply go to the Lord in prayer?
The answer, frankly, is generally the former, and now all of you are privy to me knowing better.