“But now even more the report about Him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their infirmities. But He would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (Luke 5:15-16 ESV).
As I have studied Scripture, I have often noticed that Jesus would frequently withdraw from the crowds and often even from His disciples to pray and fellowship with the Father. I understand that He no doubt did that to be an example, to demonstrate a pattern to us that we must follow in His footsteps and fellowship with the Father. I have a feeling that it even goes deeper than that though.
In theology there is a term called the Hypostatic Union. The Hypostatic Union is merely a scholarly way of communicating the doctrinal truth that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. It is my belief that prayer was the mechanism Christ used to connect His divinity to His humanity as well as a way to fellowship with the Father. I do not mean to diminish the fellowship of Christ and the Father, as that is obviously what He was doing, for after all, He Himself stated that, “I and the Father are One.” (John 10:30).
Imagine the ministry which Christ had, and how difficult it must have been mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. If even Jesus had to withdraw to desolate places and be with the Father to communicate, fellowship, and recharge, how much more important is it for you and I to do so?
I believe Jesus showed us more than an example to follow. I believe everything that is in the text is divinely inspired and there for a reason. There are even examples of things conspicuously absent from the text by apparent design that communicate something to us. Here I believe the example of withdrawing to desolate places is an example of what is written, and the absence of what was said is also an example. Proverbs 25:2 tells us, “it is the glory of God to conceal a matter but it is the duty of kings to search it out.” While I believe this verse refers to God concealing a matter in Scripture one we must search out, it doubtless demonstrates a pattern that God desires us to pursue Him, not only on the pages of Scripture, but in practical application in our daily walk with Him. I firmly believe it is our duty to withdraw to desolate places and fellowship with the Father.
We live in the information age and yet for all the deluge of information, it seems we are less informed and more distracted. My pastor calls it “a distracted generation.” I have to be honest, it is getting increasingly easier to become distracted and complacent — even for those of us who know better. We are called to be watchmen on the wall, but we all too often get distracted by the things going on in the city while the enemy is increasingly encroaching at the gates. We have ignored the dangers of the outside world for the comfort and pleasures inside the city of sin! I call upon pastors, teachers, leaders, husbands, fathers, and believers of all ages to repent and return to your first love.
How will we know the still small voice of the Lord when we never withdraw from the world to take time with our Father? Do the sheep know the voice of the shepherd if they are never alone with Him? How can we hear from Him if we never open the Bible? Shall we cheapen the privilege of prayer by reducing it to a mealtime ritual? What happened to praying on our knees? Do we relegate prayer and fasting to abstract concepts or are they actually part of the arsenal that we possess as believers?
What kind of change would we see if we would withdraw to desolate places and commune with the one true living God? I am not talking about escapism; I am talking about separating ourselves from the world for a definite period of time and for the specific purpose of having a relationship with Christ in which we can recharge spiritually and redirect our efforts in alignment with God’s will and not our own.
I am tired of hearing the will of man, I am tired of my own will; it is past time for us to align our will with the will of God for our lives. Nothing is outside the grasp of a praying believer who is standing in the will of God.
Before every great conquest and every great miracle there is a dry time that leads us to desolate places to seek God in the wilderness of life. Will you seek Him in the desolate places?