For some reason, this resonated with me: “…and they withdrew by themselves…but the crowds learned about it and followed…”
This is at the beginning of Luke’s account of the feeding of the five thousand. The apostles were eager to tell Jesus all about their missionary adventures so they sought a quiet place to fellowship and unwind. Jesus was consistent in the discipline of quietness and I think He was seeking to instill that trait in His disciples as well. However, the multitudes weren’t interested in that; they wanted more audience with Jesus and so they followed Him.
I long for a consistent routine of quietness in my day and my week. I would like time to be still, to be alone, to think and pray and reflect and read and write, to hear my own thoughts, to breathe in deeply without being touched or pulled on or having screams ringing in my ears. So, I wake up early only to have the dog whining to go out followed by my quiet reverie disturbed by a child wailing outside my door. Later on, I attempt to linger in the bathroom only to hear crashes and bangs and come out to find a huge mess all over the floor. In the afternoon, I settle down on the couch with a book or writing project and am followed by the dog nudging my arm and nap-fighters popping out of bed. And all throughout my day, there’s a constant mediating, question-answering, boundary-setting regimen happening.
But the story doesn’t continue with Jesus throwing up His hands in exasperation and shouting, “Go away! All of you! Can’t you see I’m trying to rest?!” (His disciples were more than willing to do this for Him and I would have agreed with them). Instead, He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God and healed them. And after that, one of the most well-known miracles happened- all of them were fed their fill with a meager 5 loaves and 2 fish. Whoa!!!!!
What can a mama (or anyone else who interacts with people every day) glean from this? There are no regrets in responding with kindness and wisdom. Calm the clamor with instruction about God and His word; touch the hurting; and fill the hungry with God’s provision. And the amazing thing is that the provision will come from my meager stores of energy, time, patience and love because I’m not in the fray alone. Jesus is ready to welcome, teach, heal and fill when I am not. When I want to say, “Go away!” He will help me embrace instead.
And the reprieves will come in time.