In the gospel of Matthew we see that Jesus learns of his cousin and friend, John's beheading. The bible says that when Jesus learned this he withdrew in a boat to a desolate place by himself but people found out where he was and they started gathering around him and the disciples. Jesus not only healed them, but also, with five loaves of bread and two fish, he fed a crowd of 5,000 people.

I lost a friend this week, thankfully no one died or was beheaded, but the sense of loss I feel is akin to the one I had when my grandmother passed away.

This morning as I went for a long run, I listened to a sermon that had me in tears the whole way {have you ever tried running while sob-crying at the same time? I do not recommend it} but it also felt like a soothing balm on a very fresh, very painful wound.

How did Jesus feel about pain? Well, in this moment when he lost his friend he withdrew to a desolate place. We need to withdraw sometimes, have time alone and quiet ourselves. "Jesus needed margin, Jesus needed space. There's a difference between escaping, quitting, and withdrawing which is creating boundary in your life. If God with skin on needs margin, how much more do you and I need margin?"

But of course, Jesus also is moved by the people who followed him, and though he is grieving, he choses to minister to them, to heal and feed them. "Following Jesus, interestingly enough, means that we need to withdraw so we don't have to escape or quit, but secondly, following Jesus means that oftentimes you find that you are moved beyond your personal pain. I want to challenge you to allow God to move you beyond your pain. Your pain might be the platform by which you can help somebody else in pain."

The thing is, I am hurting, and I stand by my choices however painful, but I do not want to let the pain cripple me, instead I want to remember that God will use me, my pain, and this season for his glory. I have no idea - especially right now - how he will use this, but we are talking about the God that fed thousands with five loaves of bread and two fish, so surely he's got his.

"Do you want to follow Jesus? Well, you're gonna have some afternoons and evenings that don't make sense. And the just shall live by faith." So I am hurting, and I am trying to find margins in which to withdraw, to feel, to learn, while at the same time I want to be able to offer this whole thing up to the Lord so that he can make with it what he will. "Jesus requires that you offer what you have today, right now" and today I bring my broken heart as an offering, tomorrow will take care of itself.

All quotations by Pastor Judah Smith.


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