I Love to Retreat

I Love to Retreat

Above the staccato sounds of machine gun fire, deafening explosions, and the weary cries of infantry fallen on the battle field, one lone voice can be heard crying out a singular command, “Retreat!”  An army being forced into moving back away from the battle lines because of an overwhelming enemy is what we often think of when we hear this word. Perhaps a better word is “regroup” or “refresh” or “recharge”. An army, on the brink of being overrun by their opposition can often make a strategic withdrawal to consolidate their forces, fill in the gaps caused by fallen comrades or to tend to the wounded so that a stronger and more able-bodied force might be reassembled to move back into combat - renewed, refreshed and reformed.

Isn’t this what we need from time to time in our walks with the Lord - a strategic, intentional pulling back from our daily cares, concerns and callings for a time of refreshing, renewal, and reformation? Are we not in a daily, relentless struggle against the world, the flesh, and the devil? Do we not also grow weary from the daily assaults from the evil one? We need to be healed and refreshed and renewed before we return to the spiritual warfare that awaits every believer. 

I believe that our Lord Jesus Christ indeed gives us models of what this kind of retreating can look like.

In Mark 9:2-9 we read, “After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain…”

 Jesus seemed to take time away from the busyness of ministering to the masses for times with His inner circle of disciples. The impact of this particular time with Peter, James and John was that they understood on a deeper level Who Jesus is and by Whom He had been sent. Isn’t this part of the deeper reason that we need times of “retreat”, that we might know Christ and His Father better? Don’t we need times of refreshing away from the struggles and concerns of everyday life?

While on the mountain top the disciples had an encounter with their Lord that made them want to stay and not return to the valley below but return indeed they did. They couldn’t stay on the mountain top and accomplish what Christ was sent to do, what they as disciples where being called to do.

Over the next few weeks I want to explore this idea of “retreating” and look at the spiritual benefits for you, for your families and for children and youth specifically.