We sat together tonight, crowded together in my living room, and listened to four members of a team headed to Sudan next week share what was on their hearts in that moment. A desire to trust God in all of the details, and yet difficulty in doing so. A feeling of frantically trying to tie up all loose ends before leaving, and falling short. A hope that they would be able to let God’s love flow through them to the Sudanese. A hint of fear expressed from loved ones.
And then, together, we laid it all at the feet of Jesus.
In a quiet moment during that communal prayer, the word “retreat” flitted through my mind. This place – my humble little living room – had become a retreat for those team members from the stress and busy-ness of preparing to leave for a foreign place. A place to stop, be still, share their hearts, and be encouraged by the Body. For me, I also retreated from my day and the demands of being a wife and mother. A quiet fellowship with other believers, completely focused on who God is and making His glory known throughout the nations.
As we finished praying, no one moved; no one wanted to be the one to break the peace and tranquility that had infiltrated our busy lives. Everyone wanted to linger just a little longer in this place we had come to together: this retreat. I could see the sense of being refreshed in each person’s eyes as he or she finally rose, ready to engage with the world.
Isn’t this what the Body is supposed to be like? A retreat from the world. A place to encourage one another, to rest in who God is together, to learn together so that we can re-engage with the world? We can’t retreat forever, but stepping out of our daily lives to refocus on Him is vital. And when we gather together as Christians and find a retreat, we finally experience what God intended “the church” to be.
In the spirit of full disclosure, you should also know that this post puts my name in the hat for a free retreat at Laity Lodge. Anyone who reading this can register for 25% off of selected retreats as well. When you call to register, ask for “the HighCallingBlogs.com discount.” If you also want to participate in the writing project, write a post by Friday, May 9, at noon Central Time and you can receive 50% off of selected retreats and be entered in the drawing as well. Check out Marcus’s or Chris’s blog for more details.