Do you sense an inner stirring to withdraw from the busy demands of life and meet Jesus Christ in a quiet place? Your mind may protest because of responsibilities and schedules, but does your heart hear the Divine invitation? If time were no problem, would aloneness with Jesus be appealing? If so, you can be assured that you’re hearing the gentle voice of your Divine Lover inviting you to come away with Him for a while. Don’t allow your head to beat your heart into submission. Follow your heart, for out of it come the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23 KJV).
For those who hear His call to quietness, the following suggestions may help facilitate your encounter with Him. These suggestions can lead to a romantic rendezvous between you and the Divine Lover. If you sense within your heart that He is inviting you, say yes!
You won’t be disappointed.
Set aside time in your schedule for a private rendezvous with the Divine Lover
This step is the hardest one to take. Maybe a glance at your calendar will suggest that you are simply too busy for such a time. This could be a wake-up call for you. The Holy Spirit may be using your full calendar to sound the alarm concerning how much you are doing.
Look at the things you have scheduled for the next 90 days. Which ones are indispensable? Which ones can be moved to a later date in order to allow you to move forward at a more leisurely pace, making time for Jesus Christ? Which activities are planned that aren’t really necessary?
If your first impulse tells you that you just can’t change anything, then answer one final question. What would you do if a life-threatening family emergency suddenly arose? The fact is that the value we place on things is all a matter of perspective. So go ahead. Ask the Lord to give you courage to reschedule or even scratch some of the things from your calendar.
Pick a meeting place where you will spend time alone with Him
Select a place away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life. Choose a spot far enough away that you won’t be tempted to jump back into the stream of normal activity after you get there. Find a place where you can be totally immersed in silence and can hear none of the sounds of modern life. A state park or nearby campground is often a good place for solitude. Most people live no more than a few hours drive from such a place.
Begin to prepare your heart and mind for this time
Before your retreat, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts and to begin to show you the things He wants to deal with during your holy hideaway. Keep a pad handy and write down the things He shows you before you go. This isn’t an intellectual exercise in which you write down the things that you want to accomplish during this time. God is in charge, not you. Ask Him what He wants from the time. If nothing comes to mind, don’t worry. Let His agenda be a surprise.
You will likely discover that the things He wants to deal with will all be relational issues. Don’t expect Him to take you out into the woods and give you a game plan for succeeding in business or a blueprint for being a better manager of the circumstances in your life. This time will be a time when He expresses love to you and stirs up love within you. This isn’t a project to accomplish but a love rendezvous where you “waste time” with Jesus Christ and then come home renewed.
At the appointed time, leave everything behind and go to your chosen place
Other than necessary personal items, take only your Bible and a notepad with you. Turn off your cell phone or leave it at home if you will be tempted to use it. One purpose in going away is to withdraw from everything else so that Jesus Christ will have your full attention.
Acclimate to your environment
Modern culture batters most people’s senses. You may have arrived at your private retreat location physically, but your thoughts and emotions may take a little while to catch up. Find an isolated place and slowly stroll or simply sit in silence. Feel the air and allow it to be the breath of God that gently blows away your cares. Listen intently to the sounds of nature. Watch and listen. Wait in silence and become fully present to the moment. Don’t try to manipulate your feelings. Let Him be in charge.
Listen for His loving voice
As you decompress from the pressure of normal daily routine, you will find a growing sense of anticipation about what Jesus will say and do as you wait to hear Him in this solitary place. When you do hear Him, respond. Write in your notebook what He shows and tells you.
The key element is to wait on the Lord. Believe that He is working in you, transforming you by grace into His image.
Adapted from Divine Invitation. Copyright © 2002 Steve McVey. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by Permisson.