One of my closest friends had a needle biopsy a week ago.
Because she wanted a certain oncologist, she waited three weeks. Obviously the
earlier the diagnosis the better, but I agreed with her.
When my mom was diagnosed with IV Stage breast cancer, we had an oncologist who I thought was the best in the world. I drove 20-hour trips to take my mom to him. And I remember sitting outside his office with other cancer patients and their families, all of us deeply grateful to be there.
But what if the patient across from me had been blind instead of having cancer? And the one beside him paralyzed? What if the one beside him had been deaf, the next mute, the next so mentally ill he couldn’t stop screaming? What if the next patient had been a victim of seizures, the next with a shrunken hand, the next with a bleeding disorder, and the next with a flesh-eating disease?
All there because the doctor could heal every illness, every disability. You can imagine how desperate families would line the streets and crowd the building, coming from far and wide to see such a healer.
Scripture tells us of just such a scene.
“Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to [Jesus], and He laid His Hands on every one of them and healed them.” “And the whole city was gathered together at the door.” Luke 4:40, Mark 1:33
That was an amazing evening, but when morning came something interesting happened. Jesus was nowhere to be found. The disciples looked for Him in earnest:
“Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him, and they found Him and said to Him, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’” Mark 1:36
Obviously, Jesus was a hit. The disciples didn’t understand why He would just disappear.
Scripture tells us exactly why. Here’s what happened in the wee hours of that morning:
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, [Jesus] departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed.” Mark 1:35
What did God the Father say to His Son that morning? Scripture tells us. Jesus needed to move on. He was indeed the Great Physician, but He was destined to preach the Good News.
“And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” Mark 1:38
“And He went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So His fame spread throughout all Syria... And great crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.” Matthew 4:23-25
We are at Chapter 4 of Matthew, barely into the Gospel, and Jesus is an international sensation!
But there are those around Him, even within his closest circle, who want to choose Jesus’ course. Remember when the crowds decide to force Him to be king? Immediately, He withdrew from them to pray. John 6:15
Remember Jesus telling His disciples He must be murdered? And Peter said, “This shall never happen to you.” Matthew 16:21-23
Remember when Jesus is accused of making Himself equal with God and nearly stoned in the temple? He takes His disciples across the Jordan, and they try to keep Him there, certain He will otherwise die. John 10:31-11:16
Scripture tells us our Lord constantly turned to Father God for guidance. “[Jesus] would withdraw to desolate places to pray.” Luke 5:16
This is the way our Lord stayed on course. Matthew 14:23, 26:36; Mark 6:46, 14:32; Luke 6:12, 9:18, 11:1
And we must do the same. God knows where you should be going with your life. Think you’re too small for what He has planned? Christ said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Every day and throughout your day, do as Jesus did: Seek God’s guidance in prayer.
Be the person you were meant to be.
The Rev. Mathews (B.A., M.Div., J.D.) is a seminary graduate and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact Mathews at Letters@RAMathews.com.