“Jesus gives us the best example of a well-paced life. In the Gospels we see Jesus retreating to be alone (nine times in the Gospel of Luke alone). Jesus lives his life in perfect rhythm, the proper tempo, at all times. He will not be rushed. He never does anything in haste. I love this passage in Mark’s Gospel:
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1:35-39)
Notice the balance of contemplation and action, or, in the words of John Wesley, “piety and mercy.” Before dawn Jesus goes off to a quiet place to pray. He spends time alone with his heavenly Abba. But his disciples panic when they discover Jesus is missing, especially in light of all the work that must be done. “Where have you been?” asks Peter. Jesus simply responds, “Let’s go.” Without hesitation he proclaims the good news of the available kingdom, and demonstrates its power through signs and wonders. See the perfect balance? He rests and recreates, yet he also works and serves.
Jesus’ identity was deepened in periods of silence and solitude, in time alone with his heavenly Father. That was his secret to balancing contemplation and action, rest and labor. He knew who he was. And for those of us “in whom Christ dwells,” the rhythm should be the same. As we spend time in quiet and rest and contemplation, sitting at the feet of Jesus, we gain strength to act in wisdom in the hustle and bustle of a busy world. In slowing down we can hear the Spirit whisper that we are loved, and then we begin to reflect the glory of the Christ who is within us. We become the kind of people this frazzled and frightened world most needs.”
How do you avoid or resist silence and solitude? Why do you avoid it?