The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.
I have often said that if a person does not take care of themselves they are of no use to others. This was very true in my life when my wife was disabled at the end of 2007 and could no longer walk. For months I continued to work at church trying to hang on to my ministry to the church. Eventually I began to understand that, for my own well being, my ministry focus needed to change to care for my wife. In leaving the pastorate I took care of myself and her.
So interesting to see the Lord's reaction to the throngs of hurting people. He could have become angry at their presence but instead the Lord allowed compassion to arise. The persistence of the crowds reminds me that it is the will of God that we pursue him in prayer and of how He longs to be compassionate on us and show us mercy. I think that persistence in prayer is sometimes the means by which we experience the compassion of Christ.
Help me Lord to understand the balance of caring for myself and for others.