Go on Retreats

Susan Hetrick

Read: Matthew 4:1-11

But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (v. 4 NIV)

Jesus was a master at taking retreats. In the Gospels you will often find Jesus leaving his companions and going off alone to pray (Mark 1:35), trekking into the wilderness (Luke 4:1-2), or climbing mountains to be alone with God (Matt. 14:23; Luke 9:28; John 6:15).

A retreat is an intentional time set aside to be with God. Retreats take place in a specific location, for the purpose of resting, praying, and listening to God.

Jesus knew he needed to be alone with God to prepare for ministry, and to recharge afterwards. We learn three things from this. First, it’s important to get away from your normal environment. It doesn’t work to “retreat” at the office or at home. If I retreated at home, I would end up doing laundry.

Second, Jesus retreated into the wilderness. On his retreats, Jesus experienced the majesty of God immersed in God’s creation. At times, being able to hear God’s voice requires getting away into the wilderness too. Retreating outdoors can remind you just how amazing God still is.

And third, a retreat involves rest and renewal. Take a lesson from your computer’s reboot. As writer Anne Lamott says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes—including you.” —Susan Hetrick

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you spent time alone with God. Show me how I can retreat, too.