Immediately after [the feeding of the 5,000], Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
— Matthew 14:22-23 NLT
For me, two convictions come out of Jesus' actions:
- Jesus is compassionate to the end!
- Jesus may have sometimes delayed his time with the Father, but he didn't neglect it!
Let me explain. While grieving the loss of John the Baptist, Jesus ministered to the crowd and also to his disciples. Jesus took care of the crowd so he could send the disciples away on ahead of him. Then Jesus entered into his time of prayer in a place away from the crowds and in the presence of his Father.
Both his caring for the crowds and his disciples and his time alone with the Father are important reminders to me. In my grief and heartbreak, I need to remember others and not wallow in my own self-pity. But helping others must not be an escape from spending time with the Father. Only time with the Father truly renews, restores, and revitalizes.
Holy God, I confess that I cannot bear the load of life without your help and support. Thank you for supplying me with power to deal with difficult times in ways which honored you and blessed others. Thank you for never forsaking me. In Jesus' name, I thank you. Amen.