It was dear old Vance Havner, that venerable, leathery prophet of God, who once declared: "If you don't come apart...you will come apart"—wise counsel based on Mark 1:35.
After Jesus' disciples had been slugging it out in the trenches, preaching, counselling, ministering to the needs of others, and skipping meals, our Saviour observed their drooping shoulders and said: "'Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.' (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves" (Mark 6:31-32).
It wasn't planned. Nor was it requested or expected by the men. It was, however, absolutely essential. So the Master interrupted their activities with a brief parenthesis of time. To come apart. So they wouldn't come apart.
There are times when God has to force us to hear His words...when He can no longer allow us to ignore His words...for our own good.
I can vividly recall a time when this happened to me. A friend who also happened to be a doctor invited me to lunch. During our time together, he warned me about my stress load. That same week a preacher friend called and asked me directly, "Chuck, are you tired...really exhausted?" About the same time, my wife and kids were reminding me of some of the very truths I have proclaimed above and had often proclaimed to others. And, most important of all, the Lord God tapped me on my inner man's shoulder and told me, "Come apart."
So for the next several days, I did just that. I ignored the phone calls, postponed my correspondence, disregarded previous plans, and stepped aside for several days.
And you know what? The world didn't come to an end.
And you know what else? When I returned from that "quiet place," my perspective was fresher and my mind was clearer.
Feel someone tapping on your shoulder?
The shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.