- I wanted rest. There was a reason that we scheduled the retreat for the week following Easter. I had a fantastic Holy Week and Easter was wonderful, but I was exhausted. I put a lot of energy into the services (and preaching at ONU), so I needed the break.
- I wanted some answers. I have some questions; I kind of feel like I'm at a cross-road in some ways, and I wanted direction.
As for what I got out of the retreat...
I got rest. It wasn't just a "get some sleep" rest - which I did need, but a real rest. I'm talking about the Matthew 11:28-30 kind of rest:
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me
and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with
me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I
won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll
learn to live freely and lightly."
I didn't get specific direction, but I got the big picture - that God is in charge, and my job is to be faithful. It's not so much about what I do, but who I am that's important, but more importantly, it's who God is. I felt like the whole retreat was a time in which God told me:
"I'm Daddy. Come sit on my lap for a while."
Truly, there's nowhere better to be. I remember as a little boy, how I loved to sit in my daddy's lap when he got home from work, how I loved when he would gather all three of us kids into his lap and read to us. It was cuddly, happy, and safe.
As we get older "Daddy" is replaced by "Dad" and some of what made being little so wonderful is lost. But God is always there to be Daddy and we should never neglect just sitting in His lap and basking in His love.
By the way, I absolutely loved that black chair, possibly because it was where we would always sit with Daddy, and when it had finally worn out, and it sat there on the curb for the garbage men to take it away, I was crushed. I can still remember sitting in that chair out by the curb at dusk, and even though parts of it were duct-taped together, I didn't understand why we were getting rid of it. Kind of like my pumpkin a few years earlier - the one that had bugs in it.