Day 29: When Being Alone is OK

Picture this: you go to a high-end restaurant with the hope of grand feast, and the dishes is so fantastic that your lofty expectations are blown out of the water. You want to let your meal’s creator know how thankful you are, so you ask to see the chef. As they arrive, you gush about how this was the best meal of your life and how in awe you are of the chef’s talent.

And then, without a word, they turn heel and hightail it out of the restaurant, off to who knows where.

Might be kinda odd, huh?

That’s similar to what happened with the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus performed a series of healings and miracles, capped off with an incredible display of power when He turned five loaves of bread and two fish into a massive feast that could’ve fed a village. Yet when the people praised Him, He withdrew.

I think He did this for two reasons: 1) As we discussed yesterday, He wanted to withdraw from the temptation of human praise and 2) He needed some time alone with God.

Remember, before He spoke a word to this massive crowd or fed a single mouth, He intended to withdraw to a quiet place and abide in the Father (Matthew 14:12-13). His cousin, John the Baptist, had recently been killed. Experiencing the human emotions of grief and sorrow, Jesus wanted to confide and mourn privately with God.

This was a common practice of Jesus. Luke 5:16 says that He “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

The world is busy and demanding and, if you let it, it will consume you and distract you from your Heavenly Father. Today’s temptations are greater and more accessible than ever before, as your cell phone is a constant distraction. There’s always another social media post to read, another text to respond to, another call to answer. If you ignore that tiny rectangle for even a few minutes, you might miss something.

But if you devote time to your phone rather than your Father, you’ll miss something far greater.

God wants to speak to you, whether that’s through His word or the Holy Spirit. But He won’t force Himself on you, and the noise of life threatens to drown Him out if you don’t intentionally set aside time to be quiet with Him.

So here’s my challenge this weekend: give God 15 minutes. Go to a quiet room and shut the door. Silence your phone. Ask God to empty your mind of all things except what He wants to tell you.

I’d be lying if I said I could guarantee you’d feel something from God. But He has something to say to you: “I love you.” And I’m willing to bet if you truly quiet your life and listen, you’ll hear Him.