In the third of a series of articles on “Leadership” Matt Merriam encourages church leaders on how to cope when they are overwhelmed.
I like dark mornings. For me, there is something about the quiet solitude of rising before the sun that feels sacred. However, there are seasons where getting up early for that space of devotion, prayer, and mindful worship is difficult. My young family does not always make that easy, with middle of the night cries for help. Then there are the times when life feels so overwhelming and exhausting, ministry seems fruitless and without much hope, the problems look like giants in the valley, and pushing yourself to get out of bed before you have to requires just that bit more than you have left.
In Luke 5:16 we read, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”. All throughout the Gospels we find Jesus retreating off to quiet, lonely places of solitude and prayer. Usually we read this and reflect on Jesus’ solid devotional life and on how we could all be better at retreating off to these places too. But I think there is more going on in these moments than that.
Jesus lived with a culture that valued community over individualism. In His culture, people did not spend time alone, unless they were carrying something so overwhelming they believed it was in the community’s best interest to be apart. Jesus withdrew to these lonely places because of how overwhelmed He felt by the needs around Him and the road in front of Him.
Just pause for a moment and let that sink in. Jesus, God incarnate, had times where He felt overwhelmed. And sometimes so do we.
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