By Bill Walton
Taking a sabbatical (personal retreat) was not my idea…it was God’s.
When the leaders of my church offered me, their senior minister, a sabbatical, I knew God was calling me to come way with Him. I wanted and needed the time away, but as time for the sabbatical drew near, I was filled with apprehension.
Many great preachers and spiritual leaders give testimony of the energy and vision they receive from God during times of seclusion. My past experiences in sabbatical have not been those I cared to write about or ever repeat for that matter as God brought things like unconfessed sin to the forefront of my attention. Beneficial…yes. Pleasant…NO!!!
This time God was calling me to spend two whole weeks sequestered with Him. What could possibly be so bad in my life that it would take two weeks to straighten out? So I approached my sabbatical feeling like Jacob on the shores of Jabbok, waiting for God to show up and wrestle.
Sure enough, the first two days were spent dealing with some pride issues which had evidenced itself in ways I did not even realize. Somehow, this time the “wrestling match” with God was different. Dealing with my pride in His presence, brought peace to my heart.
One morning I woke out of my sleep, singing the familiar children’s song, “Jesus Loves Me”. As the days of my retreat continued, I came to understand in far greater ways than ever before, Yes, Jesus loves ME! Yes, time alone with Him IS good!
Bill Walton was a recent guest at Shepherd’s Gate Inn and serves as the minister of Walton Christian Church in Walton, Indiana.