Do you ever have those days where you just feel in a daze, or like things are just fuzzy? As I’ve sit to write lately, it feels like so many things are swirling in my head, but I’m not able to articulate or put them down in words. Maybe it’s the consecutive days of rain and the overcast weather. Maybe it’s the to-do list that keeps growing. Maybe it’s changes in the organizational structure of the denomination we serve in that brings questions. Maybe its new restrictions going into place as Covid numbers increase. Maybe it’s the need to plan for the near future, but feeling like we can’t even see what’s coming next week.
These days have felt fuzzy. There are good things going on in ministry, YES! We are busy prepping classes, recording sermons, writing dramas for kids moments at church, putting together videos, preparing devotionals for the national youth gathering, teaching classes, having deep conversations with people seeking to grow in their walk with Christ, etc. We are also driving kids to and from school, to and from activities and practices, dealing with the ever present reality of traffic. The days don’t seem to slow down. So maybe that’s why I was so struck when I was reading the first chapter of Mark today. I have been so drawn to the book of Mark lately, particularly the first couple chapters where Jesus announces his mission and actively lives it out, as he calls disciples, heals sick people, frees a demon-possessed man, has dinner with tax collectors, goes place to place teaching his disciples and others, etc. And yet in the middle of all this activity, this ministry, we come to Mark 1:32-39:
“That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. 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.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.”
Jesus is busy, the people are hearing about him and are starting to follow, to seek him out. It says the “whole town gathered at the door”. I can just imagine the scene – the noise, the people pressing in to get closer to Jesus. And after all this, it says that Jesus gets up early in the morning even while it was dark, going to a solitary place where he prayed. Away from the crowds, away from the activity, away from the movement. He stops and gets quiet. He seeks communion with his Father. And of course the disciples are not understanding this…they’re like, “Where are you and what are you doing? People are looking for you!”
I often feel the pressure to keep moving. There is much to do so I don’t stop. But these days, there has been a constant invitation from God (sometimes more like a forced invitation) to stop, to rest, to be quiet, to savor the beauty around me and sit in God’s presence. And when I do get quiet the words I hear are, “Don’t worry, trust me, let go, take it one day at a time, I’m with you. Don’t try to figure it all out.” So that’s where I am today. Confident there will be days with more clarity, but also understanding the fuzzy days as an invitation to draw closer to God.