Desolate Places :: On Finding Time



“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you!” Mark 1:35-37
I read this verse recently while doing a devotional and had to laugh. I thought to myself “three decades in and I think I found my life verse.” In this season of life, it often feels like every attempt I make at finding a “desolate place” to pray is filled with distractions. When I find our spare room quiet, I often get giddy and try to settle in. And sure enough, within minutes my game of ‘Hide’ has grown legs and become a one round game of ‘hide and seek.’ This game lasts approximately 32.2 seconds, as my children have expert skills. With their finding me, they bring their requests. On the off chance I was wise enough to get them all settled, and I manage to make up my mind to set my phone down and away from my body, a few moments in, I hear it ping. One ping is no issue, I have resolve. But then it pings again. And again. And again. And it’s in the other room and I don’t know if it's urgent or if someone died or if my husband needs our single car…. And if it isn’t the phone or the kids, it’s a knock at the door, it’s our dog who has escaped, it’s remembering the garbage man is coming.

I often used to read about the life of Jesus and conclude that he was able to do the things he did because-well, he was God. He had the fully man part to contend with, sure, but he also had the reality that he had GOD in his body. I surmise, while he may have had these fleshy struggles as I do, he had more tools to fight them.

But my Jesus speaks to this and refutes such a claim. When he tells his disciples in John 14:12,  

"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."
He silences my arguments.

How? He tells me this:  I have even more available to me than He did on this earth.

We live on this side of the cross. While men and women before Christ’s coming had access to the Father (and Christ as well, but not his finished work.) God appeared often and guided his people. We then see in the NT, Christ is made available to us in the most physical sense ever seen. He moved in next door. Then he took it further and made His relationship the father our relationship with the father. He moved us into his house.  His finishing work on the Cross is now ours, we’re sons now too. We don’t live in the wait of a savior King. We know him by name and we carry his name as ours. In fact, we claim his work as our redemption. We have him as Lord, and Savior.  As if it that weren’t enough, He does more.  He sends us his Holy Spirit to be our counselor and guide. He moves inside our souls.
We are able to do every bit of what he’s asked us to because he has done all the work to make it so. Any claim I have that 'he had easier' is silenced.

And so, I find my desolate place over a bunch of dirty dishes (actually, that feels like a perfect modern depiction of a desolate place...) because he doesn’t need an hour of silence to do his work in me. He lives in me. And while there’s still noise and everyone is still ‘looking for me,’ I’m learning, by his Spirit, how to pray anyway. How to pause and discern what must be done. In the evenings, in the mornings, in the in-between car rides…. There’s a million ‘desolate places’ the Lord has made available to us. And finding those minutes gives me a chance to do what he has shown us is worth our time: spending it with him.  

May I be a woman that seeks out desolate places and when I find them, speak his name.