Rising Early in the Morning
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed.
Mark 1:35 ESV
The first chapter of Mark in the Bible describes an incredible pouring out of emotional, physical and spiritual energy from the life of Jesus. He chose His disciples, taught in the Synagogue, healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law and many others. Surely Jesus needed to sleep in and recover from such an emptying of energy. Yet Mark tells us Jesus rose very early in the morning, while it was still dark. He found a desolate place where He could be alone and there He prayed.
In our first devotional this week we find Jesus praying all night before He chose His disciples. Now we see Him rising early in the morning to pray after an exhausting time of ministry. When Peter finds Him, he tells Jesus that people are waiting. What Peter does not know is that God, the Father of Jesus, has given His Son different marching orders for that day. Instead of assuming that He would continue to heal and teach in Galilee, Jesus asks His Father for direction. Jesus once more demonstrates that He did not come to do His will, but He came to do His Father’s will. How confusing to the disciples, yet each day they were with Jesus taught them dependence on the Father. This is such a beautiful passage that gives us direction on how to approach our daily lives as well.
How do you demonstrate your dependence on your heavenly Father? There is no set in stone plan for a devotional life that leads to intimacy with God. Jesus models several ways to cultivate intimacy with our Lord. One time He stays up all night to pray. Another time He rises early in the morning. What comes through is that Jesus’ relationship to His Father was not relegated to one time of day. He pushed all of life through the grid of dependence on God the Father.
Do you have a devotional life? I suggest that if not, you start by praying before you rise. Give your day to the Lord before you put your feet on the floor. Ask Him to remind you of His presence and desire to shine through your life. If time is short, listen to worship music while you dress or a sermon or Christian broadcast on your way to work or school. Ask the Lord to speak His truth through such messages. Pray before reading a devotional like My Utmost for His Highest or Streams in the Desert, asking the Lord to give you one thought or one promise, that will help with a need in your day.
The time to build this foundation into your life is now, before calamity strikes. Make time with your Father a priority that becomes a habit, not easily broken.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the interview "Ovarian Cancer Fighter: The Constant Battle" so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
In 2009, Debbie Kahler was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, a disease that strikes fear in the hearts of anyone familiar with its deadly prognosis. Most people would respond with despair to such tragic losses, tempted to give in to the fear of losing their own battles. Yet that is not the message of Debbie’s journey.