However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16 NKJV).
Multitudes of people were coming to Jesus. Walking for untold miles for days on end to reach Him, for the word of His authority, miracles, and power over demons was spreading like wildfire throughout the region. Some have suggested numbers in the tens of thousands, all making their way to see the Christ, the Promised One. Mass numbers of people gathering sick and hurting loved ones, leaving homes and jobs, and striking out on foot to find Him Who was the Hope of Israel.
It is no wonder that Jesus sometimes taught from a boat pushed a little distance offshore. Everyone wanted to touch Him, to be in His presence, to share their need. And He accommodated them all, for He is God, and God is love. He is also man; as Luke declared in the genealogy—He is the son of Adam (which means “man”) and Son of God. And, as is the case for all human beings, Jesus’ body grew weary. Just like you, running non-stop from dawn till dusk for days on end, Jesus could become mentally and physically exhausted. His solution was to retreat to the wilderness.
We may think of the wilderness as the place of temptation, a no man’s land full of danger. But God is a Redeemer, as Joseph discovered long after being sold into slavery by his brothers—what the devil had meant for evil, God redeemed for good, for Joseph and his family. And He redeemed the wilderness as well. What once was a devil-infested place of temptation, God made a place of spiritual renewal and physical restoration. Jesus went to the wilderness to pray and receive sustenance that can only come from focused solitude with God.
Dear one, if you are exhausted from the pace of life or the uncertainty of the future, if you are frustrated and worried, anxious and weary, empty and tired of the rat race but unable to see a way clear to get out or improve your situation—you need to get away. You need Him to redeem the wilderness. It might be taking a drive, a hike, or just getting some quiet time in the next room. The place isn’t as important as why you’re there—to pray, receive sustenance from the Lord, to be restored to joy, and thanksgiving for all He has done—this only happens in His presence.
In this Advent season, people need you, like the multitudes needed Jesus, and the only way you’ll be able to make it through with a smile on your face and joy in your heart is by getting away and spending quality and quantity time alone with Him.