Solitude

OR Columbia River Gorge TrailMy thoughts today come about after reflecting on Rob’s last blog, as well as a conversation I had this afternoon with another friend, Bill Fortney.  Both remind me of the importance of solitude and how God has a way of speaking clearest, if not loudest, when we are alone with Him.  Many people do everything they can to avoid solitude but this is detrimental to the spiritual life. 

Mark 1:35 tells us that “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”   This is something we see throughout Jesus’ life.  He recognized better than anyone how important it is to find time alone with God.  Having visited the land where Jesus lived I know that he had many places where he could go to be alone with his Father.  Apparently Jesus preferred to be alone with God in nature.  That is my preference as well.

In his book, Sky Edge, Phillip Keller writes about the discipline of solitude: “The joyous renewal that comes to the anguished soul in solitude assures me again and again of my Father’s care that enfolds His earth children.  If we are to know His compassion, if we are to sense His touch upon our torn spirits, if we are to feel the caress of His hand upon our wounded hearts, we must seek Him in solitude.”   Keller goes on to talk about the many places he has encountered God alone in nature.

Obviously, God can be encountered anywhere; He is not limited to making Himself known through nature.  Still, the testimony of many—including Jesus—is that the Creator often reveals His presence to us in His Creation.  For that reason, we will be wise to seek solitude as often as possible in the beauty of His handiwork.  Many times in my life it has been the combination of solitude and nature that has brought me near to the heart of God.

–Chuck

(The image above was taken on a trail in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.)