And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. – Mark 6:31-32 NKJV
The disciples, fresh off their successful ministry venture, have arrived in this quiet, isolated area, described twice as being a “deserted place.” While we don’t know for sure (as the text doesn’t say), I tend to think they were excited and tired after their time of ministry. They’ve returned and now they were going to tell Jesus all about their time in service.
But the LORD had another thing in mind for them other than just relaxing. He was going to show them something really beyond their understanding – and teach us a few things as well.
Here is the first lesson I see from this miracle. Ministry can and often occurs when we are in a deserted place. Places where we don’t think ministry can (or will) take place, in locations where it seems we are not needed or we even may feel useless.
Whether it is after a traumatic event or a hugely successful event, we will often drift into a place of desert. However, these are often the times when does mighty things through us. And just like the disciples, Jesus often brings us into those places. Here is where He moves. Here is where we are in a position to better worship and serve Him. Here is where we are in a position to trust Him, as we have no other options. Here is where we hear Him.
I am sure the disciples had no idea of what was going to occur in the next few hours – but Jesus did. He knew all about their ministry time and He knew all about the sense of loss they had from the death of John The Baptist. He also knew this time in the desert was going to change their lives and our times in the desert can do the same thing.
Don’t shy away from those desert times and places. There is a good chance He brought you there in anticipation for the next thing He is doing – and it might be better than you can even imagine. Remember, ministry can and often will occur when we are in a deserted place. Welcome and embrace those times. Look forward with anticipation for what God is going to do next. You might not feed 5000 people, but God may do something dramatic and amazing in your life.
So, when you are in the desert, look around and see God work.
In His Service,