As soon as Jesus heard the news, he went off by himself in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed by land from many villages. A vast crowd was there as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:13-14

As I was reading this passage this morning I began to weep. I saw in my mind's eye our Savior grieving for the death of someone close (John the Baptist). He leaves to be alone; but hungry people who, more than likely did not know of His sorrow, were following Him in need of His attention. As the scripture says He had compassion on them and healed their sick. He laid aside His sorrow so that He could be about His Father's business.

I wept, because many times when I have hurt over different things, I have shut down and closed myself away from others. In the past when Iíd become aware of needs, instead of laying down my sorrows, on occasions I would withdraw even further.

There are many things that cause us to want to shut down and be alone. Itís a natural instinct. Myself, when Iím turning things over in my mind whether it be hurt feelings, worry, or sorrow, interruptions such as someone elseís needs can upset my little apple cart (so to speak). But when this happens now it shows me that Iím not finding the true comfort that the Lord has for me.

How selfish of me, and how loving and unselfish of Jesus to have such compassion for souls, and such miracles He performed even under such sorrow as He was in that day. He even went beyond their healing needs that day and tended to their natural hunger. What an awesome miracle He performed by feeding so many from five loaves of bread and two fish!

Scriptures tell us that afterward Jesus went to the hills so that He could be alone to pray. I know that He was comforted during that time period. And at peace, for He didnít leave anything undone. Realizing this I can see that the Lord wants me to lay down my hurts and sorrows and forget about myself for awhile so that I can walk in obedience to the prompting of His Spirit. Sometimes I may not like what the Lord is requiring of me. Like the two sons who, when their father asked them to do something, the one son said ok he would do it but, changed his mind and didnít do it. The other refused to do it but later changed his mind and went and did it. The later was rewarded for his obedience. Even tho his attitude may not have been right at the start his obedience was rewarded.

When I spend time comforting myself it is usually done in a pity party format and no one likes to go to those kinds of parties (too depressing), and nothing is accomplished by that kind of comfort. But when I am comforted by the Lord, He comforts me and strengthens me and enables me to rise up renewed in mind and spirit. When the time is right for the Lord to comfort me there will be peace in my heart, not feelings of guilt for things left undone.

Father I repent today for my selfishness of the past, I pray that I will have ears to hear and a heart to obey. I ask you Lord to fill my heart with the kind of compassion that Jesus had that day. I realize that this is easier said than done, so I pray that as I learn to deny myself and take up my cross that I will follow hard after you. Thank You Lord for comforting me and strengthening me today, even in the midst of Your kind rebuke I am comforted. I love You Lord.

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Artwork by Danny Hohlbaum

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