The Lord truly blessed me with the opportunity to join a pretty good-sized group of teenagers this past weekend on their youth retreat. I want you to think of the word "retreat". It is typically used in battle/warfare terminology as a signal to back up, to stop advancing...to turn and go the other direction. So why do we call these trips "retreats"?
There is something about gathering together away from normal daily circumstances in an effort to seek the Lord. In essence we do "back up" a little from our normal life to re-group, to get the strategy we need to fight harder and fight the right way. We need to back up from time to time to re-energize and refresh our spirits, to allow the Lord to restore our souls in His Presence the way that only He can do.
There is something about slowing down every once in a while that helps us to get our hearts tuned in to the right frequency. We need to "stop advancing" for a moment and just listen to find out which direction to take. There is a time to move forward, but there is also a time to be still and wait.
There is something about humility that pleases the Lord, and there is something about gathering in a group away from home that fuels this humility. Pride has taught us to keep going the way we are going, but when our hearts are opened to the struggles and hurts of another united with us...humility teaches us to "turn and go the other direction". Our lives may have been consumed with our own little world, our own daily struggles. It is so amazing to gather away from home and realize that if we take our eyes off of our storm for a moment and help to be a shelter for someone else's, that our waters tend to calm a little together.
I am thankful for a time of "retreating". I am thankful for all the Lord can do when we offer Him our time like this. May retreat become a daily thing in our relationship with Him. He longs for us to take a step back and regroup with Him consistently. Retreat!
Father, You have blown my mind this weekend in all that You have done. Thank You. Don't let us think that we have to go on a trip, however, to experience You in this way. Help us to gather with You daily. Help us to gather with each other in prayer for each other daily. I trust You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.