I’ve recently returned from a glorious vacation. But this kind of vacation wasn’t hanging out at the beach, or on a cruise ship, or in the mountains or a foreign country however.
This vacation was with Jesus.
While I of course realize that Jesus is ever-present with us, and goes with us wherever we go – including the sand and on boats and up into mountains and across the world (I’m certain He loves all of these with us) – sometimes He beckons something different, something more intentional, something more intimate – a Lover’s getaway with no distractions.
That’s the kind of vacation I went on.
I’ve had the occasion to steal away with my Lord for extended time with Him, completely off the grid, and unplugged from the world, several times now over the last few years.
Every time He accelerates my knowing and wanting more of Him. Every time.
There is something Holy about drawing near to God in a way that goes beyond a morning quiet time, prayers in closets, the YouVersion Daily Reading Plan and corporate fellowship and worship. As good and right and necessary and Holy as these are – there just is more.
You can have a terrific marriage full of open, honest communication, quality time, service above self, great sex and even dates alone – but doesn’t the magic get amped up when you and your spouse “get away” – just the 2 of you?
You can have an incredible relationship with your kids, being a part of their life, speaking wisdom into them, playing with them on their level, laughing, loving and being plain silly – but doesn’t something shift in an incredible way when you dedicate extended time one on one with each of them?
In a less eternally important way – you can have a wonderful work environment full of efficient, respectful, caring, sacrificing, hard-working co-workers and teammates – but isn’t it true that new levels are often reached during “retreats” that happen away from the day to day distractions?
I believe these are all true because knowingly or not, they follow the order that God has established for us in cultivating our relationship with Him, and tending the flames of His Presence in our lives.
Jesus desires for us to steal away with Him on vacation from our normal, everyday surroundings and routines.
Throughout Scripture, while Jesus Himself walked the Earth, He would often “retreat” to a secluded, quiet, place to be alone with Father. Jesus, the only perfect man, knew that He had to get away for extended times with His Dad. Jesus knew that the riches of unlimited Grace and Power He needed to fulfill His earthly ministry were supplied in times of refreshing. In order to “do what He saw His Father doing,” and “say what He heard His Father saying,” Jesus needed to be intentionally connected to God, His Vine.
If Jesus needed extended, intentional, undistracted down time seeking Father and His will – certainly we do.
In a culture that often proclaims, “I need a vacation,” spends massive amounts of time dreaming about possible vacations or planning upcoming ones, and delights in telling of the glorious relaxation, luxury, adventure, fun and experiences of our past vacations – we would be wise to apply more of that energy into vacationing with He who is true Rest and Luxury and Adventure and Fun – Experiencing His glorious riches in new and deeper ways.
It won’t look or feel like your typical vacations, and if you are going deeper in Him, I can promise that you will feel uncomfortable and vulnerable at times. When we reset our filters, we begin to hear loud and clear what Daddy has been saying all along – and He may want to do some business with you while you’re on vacation. But, there is healing and freedom and Glory in the pressing into and through those discomforts – and the Comforter Himself (Holy Spirit) will be there with you.
If you’ve never spent 2 or more days away from home, family, work and “normal” life – with the sole intent on seeking and hearing from God – I would highly urge you go for it. Pack your Bible and a Journal. Leave your cell phone at home. Get a remote cabin in the woods. Pitch a tent in a secluded park. Get out on a ranch. Sit still and know that He is God. Let Him renew you as you immerse yourself in His creation and beauty. Re-stoke the wonder of looking into the depths of a big night sky. Take a nap and dream dreams of Him.
You’re right. You do need a vacation – and Jesus wants to come along and be the focus. Go there with Him.
His bags are packed, and He’s ready to go.
While getting away for several, intentional days to focus on the Lord can be done very simply, with no formal organization – I can personally endorse and testify to “vacationing” with Jesus through the ministry of Fellowship of the Sword. You can read about what they offer at www.fellowshipofthesword.com.