Luke 6:12 'One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.'
Mark 6:46 'After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.'
Matthew 14:23 'After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.'
Nobody was busier than Jesus. Nobody had more demands on His time. People were constantly flocking to Him, to hear His teaching, to receive healing, to find out more. I sometimes think about the time when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) had been imprisoned and then beheaded.
Matthew 14:13-14: 'When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.'
Think about it. If your cousin had just been beheaded for preaching the truth about God, and you withdrew by yourself to a 'solitary place' but were followed by the crowds, how would you feel? Would you be irritable? Would you say, 'Please, my cousin has just been killed, I need a bit of space'. Would you snap at them, and ask them to come back another day? Would you think unkind thoughts? Would you listen to them, but inwardly be seething with resentment? 'Can I not even have a moment of peace?' 'Can I not have time to grieve?'
I know how I can feel at times. I confess there are days when I feel irritable with the children, simply for their childlikeness - the constant curiosity (such that they follow me everywhere, even to the bathroom at times), the repeated questions, the fiddling and investigating things that they find on the shelves and worktops, the constant need for attention and input. But look at how Jesus responded to the crowd: 'He had compassion on them'. He didn't judge. He didn't think of Himself as being too important or too burdened to help. He reached out to them, and did what they sought 'and healed their sick'.
What can we learn from this as home-educating parents? Or indeed, as any parent who feels stretched at times? To me, nowhere says it better than the letter to the Philippians, so I will quote extensively:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death -even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:1-11
It is my prayer that we have that attitude, and that we reflect that to our children. As we seek to raise them in 'the fear and admonition of the Lord' may our whole lives speak to them of His goodness.