Our time is precious to us. Every person can list countless things in their life that they have to get done, and it seems the more responsibilities we get, the less time we have for ourselves. So when someone suggests the idea of a retreat many of us shy away from it. Our every so precious vacation days, or sacrificing time with our spouse and kids, even losing your only free time of the week to go on a retreat with people you slightly know or don’t know at all seems like a ridiculous idea. We tend to focus on what we have to lose when we agree to a retreat, and not of what we have to gain. The idea of escaping the everyday to focus on yourself, your community, or you spiritual life has a biblical basis.
Moses retreated to Mount Sinai when he was given the Ten Commandments. Jesus retreated to the desert to prepare for his ministry, he retreated to a mountain when he was transfigured, and he retreated for the Mount of Olives to prepare himself to complete his calling as the Son of God. It is also stated in Luke 5:16 “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” These titans of our faith found themselves needing to retreat from their daily lives in order to see and understand the will of God.
Many of you may say that what Moses and Jesus did was withdrawal not retreat, but the definition of retreat includes to withdrawal to a quiet or secluded place. That is exactly what they did and exactly what camps and retreat centers across the country offer. Retreats can be done in groups; even Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the mountain with him when he was transfigured.
Matthew 7:7-8 says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
As a Christian when we seek God he shows up. Is that not what Moses and Jesus did when they withdrew to their quiet and secluded places? They retreated from the everyday in order to seek God and his will for their lives and God revealed himself in profound ways.
I have seen chronic pain disappear through prayer on a retreat. I have seen abused and neglected kids feel love for the first time on a retreat. I have seen broken families brought back together on a retreat. I have seen drug addicts dispose of their drugs and begin the path to a clean life on retreats.
Big things happen when we earnestly seek God.
Retreats offer a place to withdrawal from the everyday, a silent and secluded place where you can find God. It offers a place to grow, learn, and seek guidance. Your time is precious, and sacrificing something for a retreat may seem pointless, but think what God’s movement in you life can look like. One of the biggest questions so many of us ask is what is God calling us to do?
Take Moses’ and Jesus’ example: Retreat.