And Jesus said to His disciples
“Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”
I’m writing this week’s note from a little retreat center called Windridge Solitude out near Lonedell, MO. I almost didn’t take this retreat, even though it’s been scheduled for some time. I don’t like being away from Rockport too often and, with the recent death of my father and the unexpected trip to Arkansas it involved, I wondered if I should just cancel. Our elders (wisely, I think) encouraged me to take the time any way. Now, that I’ve been here for a few days, I’m so very glad they did.
It’s been a strange journey, walking through the grief that has come with the loss of my father. Though I’ve been down this road many times with many of you, weeping with those who weep and praying for comfort from the Comforter, this has hit much closer to home for obvious reasons. As a pastor, you learn to set your own feelings of grief aside in order to focus on helping others take their grief to Jesus and hear his gracious words of promise. But what happens when the grief that needs to find his help is your own? The same words of promise are true. The same comforts of the Holy Spirit are available. But they must be applied to your own bruised heart, not merely offered as a help to others.
So to get to the point, this week has been a much needed time of healing – a time to get away from the daily demands of life to pray, to cry, to turn again and again to the comfort and promises of God’s word and really hear them with ears made more attentive by my own sense of weakness and need. I did not know how bad I needed to be here, until I got here. And I am so very grateful to all of you for understanding and letting me get away to seek Him.
I love you all very much, and look forward to being back with you soon!