Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sneaking Off to God

by Rachael Phillips 

How dare He?

 Everyone was looking for Jesus, including desperate people with nasty diseases and nastier demons.  

Yet He had the nerve to sneak off.

Jesus’ fans harassed His disciples, his closest friends, for information. They had no clue where He was.

Duh. How embarrassing.

They discussed the possibility of buying Jesus a cell with better coverage, but declared that idea futile. He’d turn it off, anyway.  

When they finally tracked Him down, Jesus heard a mantra far too familiar to mothers, pastors, doctors—and writers: “Where were you?”

Jesus didn’t attempt to justify His time alone with God. He didn’t worry about how his actions would affect contributions or His marketing statistics. He affirmed the direction God had given Him: “Let us go somewhere else … so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

How simple.

How impossible.

As Jesus’ ministry grew, even He, though perfect, found it difficult to spend intimate time with His Father.

C.S. Lewis, who wrote these lines from The Weight of Glory in 1949, echoed that complication: “Even where someone is left physically by himself, the wireless has seen to it that he will be … never less alone than when alone. We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy, and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”

Why do we, married to our phones, think we should find it easy?

Today I hear the Father’s call. Not an audible one.

More than audible.

I just flushed the afternoon’s to-do list down the toilet.

Unlike Jesus, I don’t always respond to Him with immediacy.

But I feel empty and gooshy as a hollowed-out pumpkin today, a jack-o-lantern smile carved into my face.

My mom has terminal cancer.

I need new direction in my writing.

I must hear from God. I need to touch His hand.

Where can I go?

When a young mother, I sat just inside the open garage doorway where I could keep one eyeball fixed on my toddlers watching Sesame Street. Or I breathed prayers while in the bathroom during the 2.3 seconds before small fists banged on the door and indignant wails shredded my concentration.  

Surely, I can find a place of prayer now. After all, I live near a Christian college with a beautiful prayer chapel that includes small private, glassed-in rooms. I’ve also tucked myself into corners of college libraries, especially during breaks. Lakes, cemeteries, museums, bookstores and nooks in shopping malls during the day can serve as prayer “closets.” One can even pray in a church. (Beware, however, of vacuum-wielding janitors or those who lie in wait in shadowy hallways, recruiting for committees).

Today my destination is a tiny, well-kept though neglected park, with a bench where Jesus and I can sit and hold hands in the fall sunshine.

Where do you sneak off to be with God?        










  1. Anywhere. Sometimes it's a lake shore, but most often it's in my chair. But there's nothing sweeter than hearing his heartbeat. Lovely post. Hugs and prayers for your mama.

    1. Lovely imagery, Karla--"nothing sweeter than hearing His heartbeat." Love that. Thanks so much for the hugs and the prayers!

  2. My dear mother had terminal cancer too. . . unless God heals your dear mother here on earth, you will miss her forever because you can never "sneak" to her again. . . but be comforted knowing that God is always there for you, in new ways now, as you're filled with sorrow. . . prayers for you and your family. . .

    1. Thanks for your prayers and empathy, Millie. Yes, I love to sneak home to Mama, though her dementia has stolen some of her mental capacity. Still, though, her spirit is strong--she is teaching me so much!

  3. Potato Creek is a favorite place, my blue room, very early morning, by the fireplace while my man is on a hunting trip...Praying amid the clamor of distress and grief that your heart can quiet enough to sense his all-encompassing love, power, and presence.

    1. Mary, Thanks for the blessing of your post. Yes, my prayer session refreshed me, and God is giving me the strength for this part of my life journey. May you be refreshed, too, friend!