Read Mark 1:35-39
35 Before daybreak the next morning,Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36 Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37 When they found him,they said,”Everyone is looking for you.”
38 But Jesus replied,”We must go on to other towns as well,and I will preach to them,too. That is why I came.” 39 So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee,preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. (NLT)
Each of us has an interior and exterior life. The exterior life may be full of activity,tightly scheduled,full of sometimes conflicting demands. Such a life can only be fruitfully sustained by a contrasting interior life. Otherwise we degenerate into frantic rounds of activity which don’t actually achieve much. We let others set our agenda. Life is out of control.
This episode from Jesus’ life shows how his ‘interior’ life shaped all else. Surrounded by demanding disciples,curious and needy crowds,sceptical critics,he withdrew by himself. Not to run away from issues,but to determine what really were the issues. Not to avoid activity but to ensure that activity had meaning and was from his Father’s heart.
If we neglect such withdrawal,we can never truly advance. If we don’t have time alone,we can never truly serve others. Each of us may need to ask ourselves the question Henri Nouwen put to himself,”Is there a quiet stream underneath the fluctuating affirmations and rejections of my little world?”