Our family got away last week to Key West. Before we returned home, I sat out on a pier similar to this one. All by myself. I felt the warmth of the sun and the cool ocean breeze. I saw sailboats, clear water, hundreds of little fish, and blue skies. I could smell the tropical climate. I could taste the ice cold coke zero I was sipping. I could hear the local resort seagull and the palm trees swaying in the wind. This is pretty much every day in Key West.
And in that peaceful moment my mind went to ...
a couple nights before when in our hotel room I watched the news of the rioting in Washington DC. I felt the discouragement. I saw violence and hate. I could almost smell the bloodshed. I could taste the bitterness. I could hear the shouting and breaking of glass.
It can be the same day, yet depending on where we are, there can be such contrasting experiences. While Washington DC was in chaos, Key West was in peace. Here is my point. Just because there is chaos in this world, you can still have peace. But there are times when you have to find the places where the peace resides. Let me say it this way, peaceful places are ones you have to retreat to. And while we need extended times to "vacate" or go on vacation, we also need regular, shorter times to vacate. Luke tells us that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Jesus had to actively work at finding peaceful places.
Jesus experienced the Washington DC's of this world. And when he did, he often withdrew and found the Key West's of this world.
I know, we live in Ohio! It's cold and cloudy and honestly it makes it harder to withdraw. I don't disagree with you. But we need to find some beautiful, lonely places, and pray. We need to reflect and talk with God about life. We need to regain perspective on this life and hear what God wants to say to us. We need God's perspective on things. We need to find our own little Key West in Ohio.
Scripture: Luke 5:16 (NIV)
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."
"Heavenly Father, life is strange. Life is uncertain. Life can be troublesome. Life can change in a moment. Yet life is beautiful. And the life of your creation is a constant reminder that no matter how crazy this world gets, you are bigger than it all. God, you are my constant. God, you are my strength. God, you are my confidence. God, you are my hope. I place my life fully and unreservedly in Your Hands. There is nothing I want more than to know you God. Show me who You are and lead my life. I pray that I could be like Jesus and often withdraw to lonely places to pray. And when I emerge to make some difference in a world that is bent on destroying itself. God, may your light shine in the dark places of this world. And in the places where your light resides, may it never cease to shine. In Jesus' Name, Amen."