Sunday School Lessons

When You Can’t Get Away

As discussed in the previous article, in the context of Matthew 14:13, Jesus appears to be trying to get away from the crowds (or Herod), probably with His disciples (who I suspect would have also mourned the loss of John, even if they weren’t as close to him as Jesus had been.)

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Matthew 14:14 NIV

Despite Jesus’ current withdrawal, He lands and sees a crowd of people who had run ahead (around the northern part of the lake, it has been suggested) to meet him.  So, despite His previous intent, what does Jesus do?  He still takes care of them.

Have you been in that situation with someone you loved?  You might be weary, exhausted, and just ready to sit on the couch or lie down.  Or, maybe you have something that you want to get done, and are all ready to get started.  Still, when there’s an important need (whether a loved one needs care when they are sick, or needs to be bailed out from their car breaking down, or just needs you to listen to them), you go ahead and help.

Why?  Because you’re a superhero?  Because you miraculously feel better yourself?  Because you want God to like you?  No, hopefully we do these things – as Jesus did – out of love for others.

Just as Jesus (God the Son) honored his Father (i.e., God the Father) by doing the right thing, we must also be prepared for times when God has a different plan from the one that we want – or the one that we expect.  Here are some points to consider as we seek His plan:

  • God’s plan is generally easier to find when we spend time with Him, rather than trying to make plans on our own.  One of the first steps in following God’s will is to understand God’s will.  He has given us His Word as a starting point, but we must also listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit when the answer is more specific to our circumstances, and not exactly clear from the Bible.
  • God’s plan may not match with our plan, but His plan will be better than ours.  When I try to make up my own plans without seeking God’s will, I’m implying that I know better than Him.  It’s easy to say that I believe that God is both wiser than me (and everyone else that I know) and that He loves me enough to choose the best path for me, but really living that out is much more challenging.
  • God’s plan is connected to our faith.  God doesn’t need us to have faith in order for Him to work, but He sometimes seems to tie our faith and His actions together.  The good news is that, as we trust Him more and observe His faithfulness, our faith can grow stronger.
  • God can give us the strength to show love for others, even when we feel like we’re at the end of our own ability.  When we are ready to rest or get away, but God calls us to something else, we can’t rely on our own abilities.  The truly amazing things that happen in God’s Kingdom seem to occur when He is the only one who can make them happen.
  • In fact, God can provide us the resources to get through any situation, especially when He commands us to do something.  It’s not just in service to others that God’s power and plan shine.  It can be anything that we encounter – any challenge that He asks us to take on – in our walk with Jesus.

So, I hope that each of us can discover and step into God’s plan, whether it is rigorous service or restful solitude.  We may not feel like it, but He is always faithful for those who trust Him.

From Sunday School lesson prepared for December 11, 2022


  • The Lookout, December 11, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
  • Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
  • The College Press NIV Commentary – Matthew, by Larry Chouinard, pages 342-349.  © 1997 College Press Publishing Co.

1 thought on “When You Can’t Get Away”

  1. 5 powerful points. I have to keep in mind in a current personal situation “God can give us the strength to show love for others, even when we feel like we’re at the end of our own ability”. It’s amazing how we as people may “know” a truth yet not allow it to frame our present situation. How “human” is that?

    Liked by 1 person

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