“Life is meant to be lived in the beautiful mess of the valley.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 10, 2023
The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.” Deuteronomy 1:6, NIV
Personal retreats are a bit like mountain-top experiences. When we step away from the intensity of daily life, like a hiker who has finally reached the summit, we are able to look out on the horizon and see life through a new lens. This change in perspective often brings with it clarity of vision and a renewed passion for the life God has called you to live.
In truth, the appeal of the mountain top is so strong that, at times, we may lose sight of the fact that we cannot make our home at the summit. Life is meant to be lived in the beautiful mess of the valley. Retreats and times of intentional renewal allow us to hear from God afresh, yet their refreshing power sends us back into the world he loves as agents of his healing power.
While physical retreats often last only a few days, many of us embrace what we might call an “emotional retreat.” Perhaps you gave yourself fully to church ministry or another form of service to the Lord, and in the absence of a healthy and life-giving rhythm, you’ve found yourself burned out with nothing left to give. Or, might it be that the challenges facing a troubled child have become your own challenges, a constant weight that seeks to bring you down? In such a season, it is good and right to retreat to the mountain and seek the Lord’s face in an extended season of healing and restoration.
Yet a time comes in each of our stories in which we are invited to leave the wilderness, come down from the mountain, and enter into the land God has given to us. It is in the land, in the daily “stuff” of life, that we learn to live daily under his gracious rule and to encounter his goodness as we love him and our neighbors with all that we have.
Do not neglect the rhythm of regular and intentional retreat. It opens your heart to hear from God in new ways, heals old wounds, and strengthens you for whatever lies ahead. Yet with an open and attentive ear, continually listen for his guiding voice, for he may say to you today, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain” (Deuteronomy 1:6).
Father, teach us to hear your voice, and give us the wisdom to know when we need to retreat, and when it’s time to leave the mountain, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In what ways might the Lord be saying to you in this season, “You’ve stayed long enough?”
Michael W. Smith: Sovereign Over Us
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