Last night I was able to rejoin an in depth study into the Word, where this semester, basics are being revisited. Last night’s topic was prayer.
Among the many verses given as examples of either how Jesus, Himself prayed or how we should approach prayer ourselves – there was a reference to Mark 1:35-38. I saw and heard perspectives in those verses I’d never noticed before.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.””
In order to share how the insight of these verses affected me, I’ll need to point out the acts that happened directly before this moment. The day and night before, Jesus had been spending all of his time healing many and driving out demons, He had also very recently (within a week), begun gathering His disciples, calling them out to follow Him. It is depicted in the previous verses (v. 32-34) that after the sun set in the evening, droves of people came still to Jesus to be healed from their ailments (in fact, the entire town came to where Jesus was, gathered at the door of what I can only guess was a small, enclosed space to begin with, let alone add the contents of an entire town.) Jesus saw them. Most likely for hours and hours on end. He healed and cast out, apparently for hours, yet there were more to be seen. He healed many, but others were still looking for Jesus come morning (as Simon Peter proclaimed). So keep in mind, there was more to be done in this place.
Now onto verse 35, where it gives the time “very early in the morning” – so it can be deduced that He probably didn’t sleep much, was tired, weary, exhausted from all of the physical, emotional and mental energy it took to walk through the previous days.
This is a bit of background to set up the “aha” moment I had. Remember how more people still needed to seek Jesus out? To be healed, repaired, rescued from overpowering darkness? After Jesus spent time in the presence of The Father – in the secluded place where He could hear only HIS voice, Jesus knew what He was being called to do next.
Simon came, found Him, and said, in essence “Ok, there’s more people starting to show up, it’s time to continue with what You started”.
Jesus knew of a different plan – the next course of action which the time with His Father disclosed.
“Let us go somewhere else…”
There was so much more to be done in the place God had already brought Him to. Why leave when it was unfinished? He was doing God’s will, He went where He was called. He was serving others, providing a need in their lives. Go? Now? Before it was finished?
But that’s what God asked of Him. Jesus spent deep, connected time with The Father that very morning. Jesus submitted Himself, His time, His waning energy, and sought the next step The Father would ask Him to take.
And it was to leave…
It hit me personally, quite hard. Truth be told, I swallowed back some tears, not wanting to reveal too much in the public setting I was in, even though it is an incredibly warm, welcoming place (another day, I’ll describe the amazing encouragement these brothers and sisters offered me and each other as the evening went on). I just wasn’t prepared to let all loose right then and there.
The reason it resonated?
I’m leaving Massachusetts in roughly 8 weeks. I am moving back to Texas.
This knowledge has slowly made the rounds, but on the grand scheme, there are still many who weren’t aware of this change. For those of you already familiar with the situation, you can skip to the end (if you’ve made it this far – which I would applaud!).
The reality of the backstory: the groundwork, the pieces that were shifted and stacked to accommodate this seasonal change – is more intricately woven than this time allots for description. If you would like to know more, you are always welcome to ask. Yet as for now, I’ll streamline.
I have the privilege and honor of moving to Austin, TX for 7 months, so that I can be a helper and positive presence in the life of my dear, sweet friend
. Her husband is ensuring our freedom yet again, and due to the loosening of certain ties here, I am able to be with her and her daughter Amelia, while Pete is overseas.
The blessing of this time is not lost on me, even before it begins. And I know that I will find great riches and encouragement through it as well. We will be able to be strengthening supports during these varying seasons of each of our lives. Though they look as starkly different as can possibly be, God is bringing us through our days – teaching us what it looks like to rely, depend, trust and surrender. This is NOT an easy task. As a matter of fact, it’s downright horrendous at times. Yet I have complete peace (as I did when I made the decision) that back in Texas, with my sister in Christ, is where He has for me to go next.
It is temporary, yes.
I do not know what will headstart the next season, once the 7 months comes to a close and Pete can joyfully return home to his family.
I know, that if I’m honest with what my heart is feeling… it’s that my time in Massachusetts is not over. I must be quite truthful when I say that I would like, very much, to come back. For reasons that could take up an entirely different post (and they probably will not far from now), I am blessed here. I pray FERVENTLY that I’ve been even a small blessing in return.
I could go on, but this is not the time.
What was starkly revealed to me in this Scripture was that Jesus could have stayed in that town. There was wonderful, God-centered work left to do.
But God called Him to leave.
There was another place in need of Him. That is why He came – to love those who needed love, to heal the broken and bind the weak, to show the Truth of who He is, and who The Almighty has always been and will always be. He came that we might have life. And life – even for Jesus – meant sometimes moving, sometimes going, and yes, sometimes staying. To everything there is a season, and a purpose for everything under the sun.
So sometimes, you leave. God showed me that. The Spirit knew I needed the gentle reminder, that leaving doesn’t always mean an ending, and doesn’t always follow a season of failure. It just means He has ways for you to be a blessing elsewhere – and to find abundant blessing and growth yourself. Every good and perfect gift is from above. So if you, too, are facing a season of leaving, I will commit to strongly pray for your heart, that you may know He makes good our foundation, He holds our hands and enables us to go on the heights. Be encouraged that you are not finished. He is not through with you and you STILL have a purpose in Him. The lovely thing is, He is trying to show you more facets of what that breathtaking purpose is.
Take His right hand.
Be still and know that HE IS YOURS.