The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:30-31
Where do you like to go for vacation? Where is your ideal spot? Often we picture a quiet place in some remote area. This makes sense. After months of the grind and howl of rush hour traffic, the drone of offices and factories, the hustle of the marketplace, and the buzz of a home complete with three electronic devices in each room, quiet is a blessed change. Listen to the soft evening sounds in a state park. You can hear a mourning dove calling from the other side of the lake.
Sometimes, however, the silence may disturb us. In the dead of night, we hear only our breathing and a distant clock ticking – and maybe our consciences speaking to us. What we have done and said, or what we should have done and said, has been recorded by an inner device that plays the torture over and over again. Without Christ our sins are loud in God’s ears as well, so loud that God doesn’t hear what else we say. ”Your sins have hidden [God’s] face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).
The Savior wants us to follow him to a quiet place so that we can listen carefully . We do need to listen to our consciences, but even more important, we need to hear the Savior. Over the roar of our sins, Jesus said things we need to hear – cries from the cross where he paid for all our sins and the exaltation: I am “finished” with your sin, your death, and your hell. He erased the record of sins and those inner recordings that so trouble us. That is a beautiful silence.
Treasure the quiet places where Jesus takes you. For example, worship services don’t have to be busy and entertaining to be effective. In a low-key service, Jesus may be giving you time to contemplate his “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19: 12). Or take your private Bible reading. God’s Word doesn’t always reach out and grab you with truths that you will want to shout to the nations. Sometimes God is loud; other times he is the dove calling from across the lake. In the quiet you can hear his peace.