by Ray Rhodes
What is your plan for communion with God during your vacation? Charles Spurgeon often visited the coast of France for rest and healing. He wrote:
Go forth, beloved, and talk with Jesus on the beach, for He oft resorted to the sea-shore. Commune with Him amid the olive-groves so dear to Him in many a night of wrestling prayer. If ever there was a country in which men should see traces of Jesus, next to the Holy Land, this Riviera [Mentone] is the favoured spot. It is a land of vines, and figs, and olives, and palms; I have called it “Thy land, O Immanuel.” While in this Mentone, I often fancy that I am looking at the foot of the Mount of Olives, or peering into the mysterious gloom of the Garden of Gethsemane. The narrow streets of the old town are such as Jesus traversed, these villages are such as He inhabited. Have your hearts right with Him, and He will visit you often, until every day you shall walk with God, as Enoch did, and so turn week-days into Sabbaths, meals into sacraments, homes into temples, and earth into heaven. So be it with us! Amen.
Spurgeon argues for spiritual (but real) visitations from Jesus to His people. Such visits are “something more than for us to have the assurance of our salvation.” They are more than simply knowing that “Jesus loves me” or contemplating Christ. Spurgeon said, “It is the actual, though spiritual coming of Christ which we so much desire.”
He further stated, “By spiritual we do not mean unreal; in fact, the spiritual takes the lead in real-ness to spiritual men. I believe in the true and real presence of Jesus with His people: such presence has been real to my spirit.”
He also wrote, “As surely as the Lord Jesus came really as to his flesh to Bethlehem and Calvary, so surely does He come really by His Spirit to His people in the hours of their communion with Him. We are as conscious of that presence as of our own existence.”
What are the results of such spiritual visitations? Spurgeon asserted that such visitations with Jesus “bring first peace, then rest, and then joy of soul.”
When we travel to the beach or mountains or elsewhere seeking rest, but also with an eye towards meeting with Jesus, we might discover “a divine serenity and security” that truly restores. During those times, Spurgeon declared, “Jesus fills the horizon of our being.” Seek Jesus. Call on him. Ask him to visit you as you meditate on the Scripture. Spurgeon’s words are beautiful: “If you long for Him, He much more longs for you.” The best kind of vacation involves a restorative encounter with Jesus.
Quotations are from C. H. Spurgeon, Till He Come: Communion Meditations and Addresses (London: Marshall Brothers, n.d.), 11-20.
Ray Rhodes Jr. (D.Min.) is president of Nourished in the Word Ministries and pastor of Grace Community Church of North Georgia. He is the author of Family Worship for the Christmas Season, Family Worship for the Thanksgiving Season, Family Worship for the Reformation Season, The Marriage Bed, and The Visionary Marriage, along with numerous articles on marriage and the family. Ray is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can connect with Ray on Facebook.
The views expressed by guest writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of B&H Academic, LifeWay Christian Resources, or any employee thereof.