July 9, 2017
READ: Mark 6:7-12, 30-32
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (v.31).
During a particularly tense period at work, I found that the stress was making it difficult to concentrate. My mind was constantly racing, and I struggled to focus even on Bible study and prayer. I had to learn to deliberately separate and guard my heart from prevailing winds— wherever they came from.
Jesus understood the importance of taking steps to preserve our mental wellbeing. In the midst of a bustling public ministry that included miracles such as restoring eyesight, healing the sick and raising the dead, He “often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (Luke 5:16).
He also taught His disciples to rest. When the disciples came back from proclaiming His message (Mark 6:7,12), they were eager to tell Jesus about everything they’d done and taught (v.30). After all, they’d preached repentance, cast out demons and healed many sick people. Jesus listened to them, but then said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He did this because He knew they needed rest: “There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat” (v.31).
David offers another example of intentionally caring for ourselves in the middle of anxiety. In Psalm 131:1-2, King David stated that he didn’t “concern [himself] with matters too great for [him]. . . . Instead, [he] calmed and quieted [himself], like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.” David illustrated the intentionality of calming and quieting our minds by choosing not to dwell on disquieting matters, but rather settling our minds by putting our “hope in the Lord” (v.3).
May we too learn to come apart from the bustle and busyness of life and refresh ourselves in Jesus.
365-day plan: Mark 4:1-29
Read Isaiah 30:15 for God’s words to Israel during a period of unrest.
Are you able to turn off the mental chatter related to stressful or difficult situations and find rest in God? Why or why not? How can you truly rest in Him?