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Withdrawal (In a Good Way)

June 10, 2014

Yesterday, I spent the bulk of the day by myself. I had some work to do to prepare for my time in Germany with Wittenberg English Ministry. I had a week’s worth of devotions to write for Luther Seminary’s God Pause daily devotions. I had some reading I wanted to do – yesterday’s included some time with N.T. Wright’s Simply Jesus and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. But the main goal was withdrawal. So I withdrew, first to Caribou Coffee and then to Old Chicago, setting up a makeshift office each time.

Oddly enough, one of my passages for the God Pause devotions was Matthew 14:13-21. It’s the story of the feeding of the 5,000, which follows the story of Jesus finding out about John the Baptist’s death. But verse 13, a little transition verse, is what caught my eye: “Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.” Between the pressures of ministry (you know, that whole Son of God thing) and the grief at his relative’s death, Jesus simply need to get away. Or try to anyway. Jesus, the Incarnate God, shows us what it means to be most truly human.  Part of this is time away from community in unity with God.  Jesus needed it. We need it, too.

Withdrawal will continue to be part of my time of sabbatical and, I pray, something that I’ll be better at finding time for when I return. I hope that you have time to withdraw today, too. That you find time to pray, to sit, to think, to read. To be alone. To be with God.

And if you want a little help, check out Luther Seminary’s God Pause devotions. You can read them online or have them emailed to you each day.  Go to and check it out. My devotions will show up the week of July 28 – August 3. You know, because I can’t have a blog post without a little shameless self-promotion…

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18.

God Pause

From → Sabbatical 2014

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