With the approach of Rita to the Texas and Louisiana coasts, millions of evacuees fought their way through the bottlenecks, logjams, and traffic snarls to find shelter and safety. A normal forty minute drive became a five hour trip. A three hour drive suddenly took ten or eleven hours. Hundreds of people ran out of gas. Tens of thousands more fretted and worried they would run out of gas as they sat in long lines at service stations in small, out of the way, unheard of cities.

The fear of fuel problems, however, was not limited to evacuees traveling on the road. High gasoline prices have rocked the world. The U.S. has experienced spot shortages as a result of the hurricanes in the area of many oil refineries. Airlines have hiked their prices as a result of huge fuel cost increases. Unlike at any time since the 1980’s, people have been concerned about fuel costs and shortages.

An even bigger issue than national fuel shortages is the emotional and physical fuel of a sleep-deprived culture. Surveys suggest that as many as 60-70% of working American adults are significantly behind on their needed minimum sleep. Weariness takes its toll in our relationships, our dependability at work, our physical health, and our safety when driving.

Rest is the forgotten fuel. But this needed rest is more than just a few more power naps, a little more sleep, or a little down time. What is needed is spiritual rest — withdrawal from the “busy-ness” of our hectic worlds and quality time in the restorative presence of God. This holy time — or sacred space as I like to call it — is crucial for our spiritual balance and productive living.

Jesus fueled his ministry in this sacred space. After a very busy time in ministry, we find him practicing his regular spiritual sustaining time with the Father:

The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray. (Mark 1:35)

Jesus fueled his ministry in this sacred space.
Jesus provided this same sacred space for his closest followers as he trained his future world-changers.

The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and what they had taught. Then Jesus said, "Let's get away from the crowds for a while and rest." There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn't even have time to eat. They left by boat for a quieter spot. (Mark 6:30-32)

How are you doing with your intentional rest time away from the crowd in the presence of the Father? Don’t let your spiritual rest time become the neglected fuel in your life. Let’s encourage one another to carve out sacred space for time alone with God and seek the spiritual nourishment and restorative power that only he can supply us.