Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Praying in a Desolate Place
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he 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.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. Mark 1:35-39
There are all sorts of desolate places on this earth. There are those places which thrive in a season, like summer, to only become nearly devoid of people the rest of the year. And then there are places where no one lives, just animals and assorted wildlife, that people can't live in or chose not to live in for the extreme challenge. The streets of New York, right in the heart of Times Square, were desolate places, right after 9/11. They were eerily still - a place usually pulsing with life twenty four hours a day. And there are also internal places of desolation, situations when we feel so alone and so afraid. We might be surrounded by people, but we know ourselves to be in a very isolated time and space. We are in familiar surroundings and yet we are without direction.
Jesus went to that place to pray. Early in the morning he sought out our cold isolation. He prayed within our darkness, before the sun could rise, he prayed amidst the lost and broken, the scattered debris of human existence. The disciples came looking for him, everybody wanted to know where Jesus was. What they couldn't see was that he was there, in their midst, praying in their dark aching places, praying through their isolation and anxiety.
Today, I want to remember that Jesus is in all our dark moments. Jesus is seeking out our wilderness places and leaning in with, holding us as we pray through our darkest moments. Today, I want to be fearless about entering into the dark places for Jesus is there ahead of us and always with us. We can be courageous, because even in our isolation we are not alone.