by Mary E. Belcher
People often make elaborate plans for vacations; but how often, instead of joy, they end up with a feeling of emptiness and disappointment, a sense of having missed something. Could this be because they’ve been looking to matter instead of to Spirit for refreshment?
The only true rest and refreshment mankind can ever know is in spiritual communion with God. Jesus knew this, and he went to the mountain alone in order that he might listen more closely to the voice of God. He knew that the only change or relaxation needed was to learn more of God, and of man in His image and likeness.
Our lives today seem to be crowded with work, with little time for the deeper things of God. What a difference it would make if, instead of trying to crowd more material pleasures into vacation time, we would make it an opportunity to withdraw from the things of matter and turn to “the imperishable things of Spirit.” (S&H) What greater happiness can there be than to learn more of God’s unfailing love and kindness? Then, when our vacation is ended, there will be no sense of disappointment, but we will return to our work strengthened and refreshed.
Jesus knew the value of solitary hours spent in self-examination and prayer. Time and again we read of him spending the night alone in prayer. Imagine the angel messages that came to him during those peaceful times, the messages of God’s love, the messages of strength and courage! Many of his mightiest works were performed after those hours on the mountain alone with God.
These quiet hours teach the meaning of true humility. Mary Baker Eddy has given us these illuminating words as to the right use of our time: “Cherish humility, ‘watch,’ and ‘pray without ceasing,’ or you will miss the way of Truth and Love. Humility is no busybody: it has no moments for trafficking in other people’s business, no place for envy, no time for idle words, vain amusements, and all the et cetera of the ways and means of personal sense.” (Mis.) Mighty words, indeed, and full of guidance for each faithful follower of the Christ!
What a blessed privilege, then, is ours to use our vacation days and our hours of leisure as Jesus used his. What happy memories of the sunshine of God’s presence would fill our consciousness. To those who are learning to use their leisure aright, the “Sun of righteousness” has indeed arisen “with healing in his wings”!