Journey with John

Every now and then, go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back

to your work, your judgment will be surer.  –  Leonardo da Vinci

Even in the 16th century, it was recognized the need to get away to refresh the soul a bit, so you can face the challenges of the day.  I was blessed last weekend to enjoy such a retreat.  Cherilyn and I flew to our old stomping ground in Tacoma, Washington.  Of course, the highlight was spending time with our son who always renews my spirit.  But, it was also being in a place where responsibilities were less and a change of scenery.  Oh, the scenery!  The waters of Puget Sound have such a healing effect on me.  Surrounded by majestic mountains and lush evergreens, I was overcome on all sides with signs of God present, ministering to me.  It was then that Psalm 46:10 began to quietly sing in my mind, “Be still and know that I am God….”  It was easy, surrounded by such beauty.  But it occurred to me that I shouldn’t have to fly to Washington to enjoy the refreshment of God’s loving presence.  I tried to remember the last time I’d put the Psalmist’s plea into effect.  I admit with sadness, it had been too long.  Weary from news of more of our precious children being slaughtered by some mad man, I went numb with sadness.  Burdened by illness in my family, I cried for the ones I love so much.  Grieving the deaths of several in our church family who had touched my heart, I stayed in that place of loss.  A retreat was indeed in order.  But I didn’t need to go so far away.  I simply need to be still… and know God.

I couldn’t help thinking of Jesus on his road to Jerusalem – so loaded down by the sins of the world, grief over lost souls, the knowledge of approaching death.  How did he keep his soul new and ever faithful?  I began to remember the many verses of scripture that talk of Jesus going off by himself… taking time to be in prayer… retreating for some personal time.  It was in THOSE moments, in the middle of his crazy routine, that Jesus took time to “Be still and know that I am God.”  In those moments of resting in God’s presence, he was refreshed and able to face the demands of a cheering crowd that didn’t know just what they wanted.  He was able to set forth in faithfulness to meet his cross.  Jesus faced the unthinkable with calm….  I need to take time every day simply to “Be still and know that I am God!”  In those moments, I am reborn.



Pastor John