Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Midsummer's Conversation


The words came together in a way I had never seen before. In between the sentences and the miracles, a quiet storyline unfolded before me.

There had been a macabre seven-veils-style of dancing in a Roman court, culminating in erotic shimmies, and a request for a head on a platter. Grisly details finalized the deal.

Some miles away, followers of John the Baptist spilled the news to Jesus about his cousin's death. "When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place."

We expect a time of grieving, a chance to be still and mourn. Instead, "Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns."

Ever needed to be alone or desired downtime? Ever needed time to grieve?

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached..." 

I love this. A man in the throes of grief himself still senses others' pain. Then, instead of hurrying away, he stops, spends hours with them, listening, hearing the deeper issues, and healing their sicknesses and wounds.

"As evening approached...," we come face to face with one of his familiar miracles. And we encounter a logical polite retreat option for Jesus. "Well, it's late," his disciples subtly hint to him,suggesting he send the people home. This could have been his out, on a day of grief and weariness for him. No one would have faulted him. 

"They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat," Jesus replies instead, starting the miracle account. Bringing the small loaves and fish that had been recovered, Jesus looked up at heaven, smiled at his Father, thanking him for food and life, and broke the bread.

Bounty and nourishment flowed. 

Everyone ate and was satiated. Men, women, and children received what they needed from him. One of Jesus' largest miracles took place in a day of grief and weariness, when he was trying to get away to solitude. 

As the leftovers were being picked up and placed into baskets, Jesus "immediately made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray alone..."

I love that Jesus' miracles and compassion happened here on a day of weariness and grief, when Jesus was really just needing some time away. In his grief though, he saw their needs, was filled with compassion, and invested in them for several hours. Then, when everyone was healed and full, he said goodbye, walked up the mountainside, and continued his conversation with the Father.

As moms, dads, friends, grandparents, or people in ministry, this encourages and teaches me. Lord, make me like you, to see other people's needs, regardless of my own energy levels that day, and to have compassion, moved into action. And the truly exciting thing? We have that same Holy Spirit in us, moving and empowering us to love like Jesus did.

Then afterwards, slipping away, we can continue our conversations. "Where were we, God?" 

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose

Photo credit

21 comments:

Jennifer Dougan said...

The Millsgrandparents is: Just so you know

http://millsgrandparents.blogspot.com/?zx=6699af2691b20933

I can never find them otherwise.

Mills Grandparents said...

=)

Dolly@Soulstops said...

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing the context...it makes me appreciate Jesus even more...I'm reading Peter Scazzero's Emotionally Healthy Spirituality right now...blessings :)

Dolly@Soulstops said...

Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing the context...it makes me appreciate Jesus even more...I'm reading Peter Scazzero's Emotionally Healthy Spirituality right now...blessings :)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Personally, my ministry reserves feel tapped out at this point. This has been an exhausting season for my family. How grateful I am for those moments in my day when I can slip away to the "mountain" and sit down with Jesus to eat his food and receive his ministry.

What a beautiful portrait of service you've painted for me tonight. Thank you. Much needed.

Floyd said...

That's an interesting take on the miracles... I've never thought of it. Hmmm. Our example is to give even when we're grieving. Interestingly, the times when we give of ourselves and our resources for the needs of others is the time we are the most gratified and at peace with our Father... not a coincidence. Excellent teaching, Jennifer. Thanks.

Betty said...

Good reminder Jennifer. I am bushed too. We have had company for over a week, first day they left and today cleaned...caught up with emails,etc. We baby sit tomorrow for our two grandchildren. Early Friday we fly out to Missouri for a week conference. Then to Illinois for a couple weeks, finally we will be back to maybe some quiet...not likely. I have to remind my self often we ask the Lord to not retire us. Hope all is well with you my wise sister.

Lisa notes... said...

It is amazing when we realize the short timeline of these events. And what a miracle that we have the same Spirit in us! If only I could live in full remembrance of that...

Cheryl Barker said...

Love how you pointed out that in Jesus's grief, he saw the needs of others -- and responded. What a wonderful Savior we have!

(I see from previous posts, Jennifer, that your family has had big reason to celebrate. What a milestone!)

Alecia Simersky said...

Oh how this challenges me. There's so much meat in these verses...and knowing that the same spirit that was in Jesus is in me, is so encouraging.Beautiful post Jennifer!

Alicia said...

I've never thought about how Jesus still reached out and offered comfort, healing even as he grieved the loss of his cousin. Thanks for the fresh insight today.

Jayne said...

I think because of the way the Bible has been divided up into sections with subtitles, we don't always put the events together as we should. We don't realize all the emotion and passion Jesus' work took. There were probably many days He was emotionally exhausted, yet still tended to His flock like the good shepherd He is. Our emotions are never an excuse for our behavior because God is the creator of them, and if we allow, Lord over them.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Dolly,

Not a bad book, huh? Do you find yourself interacting with and writing comments in the margins of books too, as you read them? I agree or disagree with authors as desired, saying so in the margins. :)

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Oh Elaine, I'm sorry. Yes, I know that feeling too. May your reserves be filled up tonight and in this season. I appreciate your honesty.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thanks, Floyd. I was struck by his kind patience here too, and I love that God the Father's miracle of abundance came in a time when Jesus was probably feeling weary and sad. How awesome of our God.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Betty,

What fun to have company, and to enjoy grandkids. What type of conference in MO are you heading to?

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Cheryl!

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Lisanotes, me too!

Thanks for stopping by here.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thanks, Alecia! It's had me thinking all week too. I love that the Bible can do that to us.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thanks, Alicia, for being here. It's fun to learn and share together.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Oh I agree, Jayne, that our emotions are never an excuse or a limiting factor, with God in charge and control! I'm thankful for them though ( the emotions) to help cue us in on things we may not be able to vocalize or recognize yet though.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com