"When Jesus heard what had happened [John the Baptist's beheading], he withdrew by boat to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns." - Matthew 14:13
I think I know how Jesus felt. Not exactly, of course, but I know what it feels like when something bad happens, or you hear of something bad that happened to someone you love, and you just need to withdraw and go away to process the information and get over the shock.
Jesus was so popular, however, that even when he tried to get away, it didn't work. Maybe you know what that's like as well. Maybe because of your job, your position, or the roles you play you can't get away, either. For myself, well... I have a confession to make:
I'm sitting in my car in the church parking lot and I can't seem to will myself out of the car into the building. The idea of having to put on my "joyful" face and sing happy praise songs just makes me want to... withdraw. I can't even hide in the back row because people know me. Even people I don't recognise know who I am because I'm part of the music department. There's no place to hide.
It's been a rough week. I had nightmares all night long. I know that God is worthy of my worship no matter how I feel - I know that absolutely. But I need the freedom to worship him in a quiet, solitary place today. I need to acknowledge his sovereignty from the depths of my emotions, which doesn't include corporate praise today.
I don't have a boat; I have a car. I'm not on the Sea of Galilee; I'm on the Sea of Parking Lot. And there isn't a crowd of people following me wanting to be healed. But there are four people inside that building who need me, will be expecting me to cook lunch in a few hours, mend school uniforms, help with projects, discuss ideas, and generally know where everything is and keep the schedules juggled and in balance at all times.
The silence of withdrawing comforts and renews. I can be still. I can be in God's presence without distractions. My broken parts are mended and I am slowly made whole once again.