To retreat can be to move back or away from a position, to take cover in the face of enemy attack or failure. However, it can also mean to seek refuge in order to regroup, strengthen and refuel.
Recently I attended a spiritual retreat for Christian women. Its theme was The Living Water.
It was a time to share, buoy up and draw from the experience and strength of others in order to be better prepared to face lifes everyday challenges as well as those that call for extreme confidence, faith and fortitude.
The speaker for the event was Karen Zacharias. She drew her talk from events that had inspired the main themes of her books, After the Flag is Folded, and Where is Your Jesus, Now? Present were wives and mothers of military members that were serving or had served in Iraq. It was a time to build understanding for what they were going through and ways in which we as a community might help strengthen them and encourage their every day struggles as well as those that challenged their faith. We had time to laugh, sing praises, weep with compassion and share the tears of abundant joy. We were uplifted and rejuvenated. We also had opportunity to spend time with one of two forms of exercise and one of two types of crafts.
This event inspired the following acrostic poem:
Retreat isnt always
it can bE a running to
More than once, Christ would retreat from the throng that sought His knowledge, healing, brotherly love. Not to get away from the need but to find rest, recuperate and refuel.
One particular time, recorded in Mark 6:31-34, He and His disciples left by boat to find refuge and time to eat on the other shore. The crowd went ahead of them and waited on the other side. When Christ stepped from the boat, He had pity on the waiting crowd, and He taught them many things they needed to know. He fully recognized the bodys need for rest and sustenance. Surely this is an example of utmost importance for us to emulate.
As we enter this time of holidays and Holy days, may we each remember that a time of retreat does not need a sign of giving up or surrender, but a time to renew, refuel and energize.