Gather to Jesus

Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.

—Mark 6:30–32

The devil will often use normal and natural emotions and experiences and pervert them into something he can use to our own demise. Nothing has been more perverted in the realm of human emotion than that of loneliness. The apostles here had just returned from an amazing season of ministry where they had been sent out by Jesus to preach and heal the sick. John the Baptist had just been beheaded when the apostles gathered again to report to Jesus all that had happened during their sending out.

In response, Jesus said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place.” So many people were coming to the disciples that they didn’t have enough time to eat. To some, that might sound like a vibrant and exciting time and a great way to live and do ministry. But it is also exactly the time when the Lord will often say, “Come aside by yourself to a lonely place”; that is, a place or time when it’s just you and God.

Another point to remember is that the devil seeks to exploit the times when nothing seems to be happening in our lives, the times when we feel alone. People often do not recognize that this is a time to be alone with the Lord. The enemy comes in and says to them, “It’s taking too long,” “You’ve been forgotten,” or “This isn’t fair,” and from there he coaxes them into moral failures and crisis of faith. People get tired of waiting for the right person, so they give in to the loneliness and jump into a wrong relationship. People step out—they think in faith—into wrong ministries because “come aside by yourself” is “not how they roll. They are the movers and shakers who insist on doing something—even if it is the wrong thing.

If this is a season of life where you feel forgotten or sidelined, don’t let the devil exploit the feeling of loneliness. The Lord might be saying to you, “Come aside to a lonely place where just you and I can recap recent events or maybe talk about a few mistakes. Come aside until you are satisfied with Me as your portion, and then I can move ahead with your meeting the right person.” God wastes nothing and even calls His people into lonely places for one-on-one time with Him. Maybe you are the one He is calling right now.

Occasional loneliness is as normal as the sending out and bringing in that we all want the Lord to do in our lives. When it comes, don’t let it rob you of alone time with God. Remember, when you’re called aside to a lonely place, it’s hard to hear the Lord over the sound of your own grumbling!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

BARRY STAGNER

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