Jesus knew how to get away from distractions (Mark 1:35). He rose before the pre-dawn hue. He found a Ã¢â‚¬Å“desolate placeÃ¢â‚¬Â (Greek for no cell coverage). He pulled up a rock and Jesus the Son communed with Abba the Father.
No distractions. No disciples texting him. No crowds pulling on his robe. No mother asking him to play bartender. Every now and again Jesus got away to get it together. So when I came to the state named after the Spanish word for Ã¢â‚¬Å“mountain,Ã¢â‚¬Â I planned on following the footsteps of Jesus. For the past week, every morning, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve woken up (admittedly the sun was up Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it rises just a tad bit early in the Northwest), put on the boots, and hike up the ridge. I walk past the buffalo preserve, through the old apple orchard, say Ã¢â‚¬Å“good morningÃ¢â‚¬Â to the neighborÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s black lab, and then head up to the top.
If Palestine had been in Montana, this is where Jesus would have stood. I turn to the left and see Glacier National Park peaking through a gap in the mountains. I turn to the right and Flathead Lake spreads out like a blue blanket. Brian the son starts communing with Abba the Father.
Then they come. Not my kids. Not a cell phone ring. Barely visible black creatures from the abyss. I swat one away. Back to my conversation. Then another. Ã¢â‚¬Å“God, thank you forÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬Â¦splat. Neon signs light up my arms, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Free drinks.Ã¢â‚¬Â It was the 6 AM happy hour.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if mosquitoes met Jesus on his mountain, but I realize itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not just the demanding distractions that get in the way; even creation itself interrupts. The rocks may cry out praise to God, but the mosquitoes only thank God after theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve imbibed.
Jesus helped in the drafts of Deuteronomy. So He knew, Ã¢â‚¬Å“From there you will seek the Lord and you will find Him, if you seek him with all of your heart and all your soul (Deut. 4:29). I like the first part of that verse. I find Him when thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no noise, with cup of Joe in hand, nice views, but He vanishes with the first mosquito. In fact I throw a little blame back on God, Ã¢â‚¬Å“If you hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t created mosquitoes, then I could have sought you!Ã¢â‚¬Â Whether itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s flying blood-suckers or flying emails, my heart and soul get derailed so quickly.
So the next morning I put on the hiking boots determined to seek my FatherÃ¢â‚¬Â¦but I spray on a bit of cologne dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢OFF.