The Life-Sucking World

The Life-Sucking World

After he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit India to see a Christian orphanage and church planting movement that we support financially. I believed in their mission, but at the time, I was still struggling with following my own drug addiction.

While in one of the rural villages, I looked to the beauty of the surrounding hills and asked our Indian pastor/guide if he ever went hiking just for fun. He looked at me oddly, as if hiking just for the sake of hiking was a little strange. He said he did go up there regularly, to get away from the world and to pray. Now it was my turn to think him odd. Here was a man of God, who spent every day caring for the needy and preaching the word. Why did he need to get away to pray? Wasn’t he close enough to God already? Mired in my own self-centeredness, I just didn’t understand.

I think almost the same thing every time I read today’s passage in which Jesus went away by himself to pray. Here was the messiah, the very son of God, who was already obviously intimately connected to the father, but who also needed to take time away from the demands of the world to talk with God. After feeding the crowd and healing their sick, Jesus recharged and refilled himself by spending time with his father.

The world is profoundly distracting, sucking the life out of us. We all have a hundred different diversions, pulling us in as many directions in a day. We may say that our faith is the most important thing about us, but to any observer, we follow our smart phones, entertainment, or jobs more than God.

In my addiction, I followed me above all. Then, I wondered why I was such a disaster. In my recovery, I began to understand that my life went in the direction of whatever I pursued. If I followed my appetite today, predictable consequences ensued tomorrow. The world continually pulls me away from God. If I want to know faith and recovery, then like Jesus, I must daily take time to purposefully unplug from the world. I must daily spend time alone in prayer, speaking and listening to the God who fills me with the life I truly want and need.

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