Jesus Goes Into The Mountain To Pray.
Matthew 14:23. “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.”
It was an intense time of healing, teaching, and even the miraculous feeding of the multitude. [There were even times when Jesus relatives thought He had lost His mind, so intense was His ministry.]
On this occasion, however, Jesus sends them all away – the crowd, the disciples, and everyone who might have wanted something of Him. He heads for the hills to pray. Up into the mountain He goes, as the darkness comes, to commune with His Father by Himself.
The question arises:
If the Lord of Heaven and Earth needs to thus refresh Himself, must I always regard myself as “indispensable” and available to every whim and will of those around me? There are times when anyone – even Jesus – needed to refresh and refuel.
The time is dusk – as the darkness encroaches. This speaks in type to the times. Is it necessary to become more “involved” because others are pressuring us, or to back off and seek the Father’s will, the comfort of angels, and necessary rest for body and Soul? These are times of darkening skies – in terms of the social order, of history, of the big things. But what time is it for each of us?
An approaching evening is also applicable to perhaps later times of life. Night encroaches one way or another. Is it time to do the bucket list, to grab for all the gusto? Or is it time to ponder the eternal things? Would I want to refresh and prepare for the next wave that I’m to learn to rise upon, in order to sail across it skillfully, so that it carries me to the shores of Eternity?
For some reason I’m impressed by that phraseology of Him going into the mountain. He does not go around it. He does not go over it. He does not even exemplify or recommend mountain moving faith! Instead He goes into it. He goes bravely and boldly into the mountain. Alone. It is here that He prays – within the mountain! It may be a “hard” place. The climb may have been arduous. As the darkness approaches, He went up into a mountain apart to pray.
Sometimes there is no way around something. It must be entered. Here we find the Presence of God, strength, peace, rest – all that which the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient One alone can provide. Finite fixes will not do. Only the Presence of our Father contains the direction and the the wherewithal to go forward.
The holidays are a high and hard mountain to enter for some people. There can be many dynamics that make it so. There may be the departure of a loved one to their eternal home. Or it could be the complexity of having to spend time with parts of a family who are difficult to be around any time, let alone Christmas. Some find themselves alone and lonely. Some endure poverty or unemployment during a season that basically induces guilt trips if someone isn’t “supporting the economy” by spending themselves silly – even if doing so is not possible or desired.
These are mountains to enter, like it or not. But if we can go into them in an attitude of expecting the Lord’s best outcome – His will on it – with prayer, and praise, and maybe some gratitude for another chance to grow just a little more, we will receive all we need, along with more of His strength and courage. These can be the God- ordained situations, mountains that “elevate” us more than we can imagine!