Luke 5:15-16

by | Oct 10, 2018 | Meditations

But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray. (Luke 5:15–16 NRSV)
I’m afraid of crowds.  Perhaps you are too.  I don’t have agoraphobia or anything like that, I’m just afraid that if too many people get too close, I might get lost.  Crowds are demanding.  They require too much of me.  They require my time, my energy, my personal resources.  When I help one person, another person lines up after them and one after the other they gather until I am swallowed up, lost, depleted.  I don’t like crowds.
I’m also afraid of being alone.  Perhaps you are too.  I’m afraid the silence will leave space for other sounds, other voices, voices that say I’m not good enough – for my wife, for my family, for my church, for God… Or.. Perhaps, I’m afraid that in the silence God might speak, might call me somewhere I don’t want to go – might call to do something I don’t want to do.
I’d prefer to live my life in plain sight somewhere between the crowds and the lonely places.  I’d prefer to keep a few people at arms length.  I can control that.  I feel comfortable with that.  My wife, my family, a few close friends who know what boundaries shouldn’t be crossed – that’s the goldilocks zone.
But can I follow Jesus from the goldilocks zone? I wish I could.  But the more I read about Jesus the more I hear his call to care for the crowds that gather at my door.  And the more I do that, the more I realize how impossible that is unless I devote myself to disciplined prayer and solitude.
The truth is, if we are faithful to God’s call to care for the poor, weary and needy, then we shouldn’t be surprised to find them gathering in crowds at our doors.  And if we fail to create the space in our lives for prayer, then we will always find ourselves depleted.

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