The warmth of the sand surrounded my toes as I dug them into the grainy substance slightly wet with water from the receding waves. The sun massaged the muscles of my back and neck as they melted from my awareness. My eyelids closed as I listened to the birds calling to each other. My breathing slowed, and I relaxed, nothing calling for my attention but the pull of these pleasurable sensations.
The events of this daydream are not possible in real life due to my physical limitations. However, the need for rest and restoration is. I have become acutely aware not only of my own pain, but also the physical and emotional pain of many others who suffer with chronic illness. It is a blessing that we are able to comfort each other as we have been comforted (2 Corinthians 1:4), but I am finding that I am humanly struggling to bear so many painful burdens. I reached a point recently that I had cried so long for so many people that I needed a respite in order to continue with this ministry. It is a blessing that I have the perfect example recorded in the Bible regarding how to accomplish this goal.
Instead of soaking His toes in the sand at a beach for the purpose of experiencing physical pleasures, Jesus withdrew to solitary locations for intimate time with God through prayer. With the demands of His ministry, He recognized the value of prayer for comfort and guidance as He prepared to be baptized (Luke 3:21-22), choose His disciples (Luke 6:12-13), be transfigured (Luke 9:28-29), work miracles (Matthew 14:23-25), experience suffering (Matthew 26:36-44), and die (Luke 23:46). As a man, Jesus needed the support of His Father in order to do what He had been called to do; I need the same.
Jesus was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3), but He prayed for His Father’s help rather than choosing to ignore the pain in the world. I want to follow Jesus’ example. I need Your help, Father. Please teach me how to pray and guide, comfort, and strengthen me through this gift of glorious fellowship with You made possible by the death of Your Son. Only with Your help, can I continue to endure.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints