Monday, February 23, 2015

Lent Devotion: The Great Escape - Psalm 55:7

Psalm 55:7    I would flee far away and stay in the desert. (NIV)

            Like most people, there are some days when I would like to run away from all of my responsibilities, travel somewhere remote, and just be all by myself. I sometimes daydream about getting in my car, driving as far west as I possibly can until I reach the ocean, and then just sit on the beach to watch the sun going down over the Pacific horizon. I’m certain that everyone has days just like this, where the impulse to ‘get away from it all’ occurs. I also believe that the writer of Psalm 55 experienced something similar.

            We all go through stressful times and bad moments in our lives. It’s part of our human experience. Most of the time, the majority of us resist those impulses to run away, simply because our common sense, as well as our devotion to others, over-rides our desire to escape.

            As we travel through the forty days of Lent, I’m reminded that the origins of this season are rooted in Christ’s wilderness experience, when He was whisked away by the Holy Spirit to a solitary place, free from any distractions, and unburdened by any responsibilities. He was not there, though, to get away from it all. Jesus was in the wilderness to be severely tested and tried. Thankfully, He overcame His time of trial and then began His ministry of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration for humankind.

            Running away from our responsibilities does not change anything. However, turning to Jesus with our burdens can change everything. He understands our isolation and vulnerability. He knows what it’s like to be stressed out and under pressure. This is why Jesus gently speaks to us across the centuries with His own comforting words: “Come to Me, all of you who are heavy burdened. In Me, you will find rest for your weary souls.” (Matthew 11:28).

Question:      What is currently stressing me out? How can Jesus help me?

Prayer:          Lord Jesus, You know us completely and understand everything that is going on in our lives. You know the isolation we feel, the fears we have, and the burdens that we carry. Help us to turn to You, to receive Your loving embrace and perfect assurance. Be with us all today. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask questions, give feedback, or make comments about today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is on of John’s latest Celtic drawings called “Celtic Heart.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on this link: Heart.

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