Life today is fast-paced and daily. There is no rest from the constant demands placed upon people by daily life today. There is, it seems, always one more thing that needs to be done, one more event to attend, one more place to go, one more person who needs us. As an elderly organist of mine once said on her 89th birthday, “the problem with life is it is so daily.” Life does not give us a day off. This is true for non-Christians and believers – but often more so for the Christian because of the added disciplines and activities that are a part of the believer’s life.
As a result of our face-paced world – and it is the same in every nation I work in – and the lives we therefore live the practice, pattern, presence and power of solitude has been lost to most believers. We seldom achieve a sabbath day let alone time to be alone with the Lord for an extended season (the practice of solitude) where we come to experience afresh and anew the presence of the Lord and His power. This pattern of time away by ourselves with the Lord – away from all daly demands and events, people and activities – has ceased to exist if it ever was practiced by the believer. As a result the inner life of the Christian is damaged and his or her witness in the world is tarnished and no longer dynamic or even, at times, evident.
As I face a very busy three months during which we will experience some great summer weather – and my pace is not going to be slowing down – I have made the decision to make time for solitute in the midst of the busy life that I have and an active ministry that I pursue. I will intentionally make a place for the practice of spending extended time alone with the Lord (the practice of the Christian discipline of solitude). This will mean leaving my office and my home (my office is in my home), the people I love and the ministy the Lord gave to me and simply go away to be with the Lord. No books other than the Bible, no music, no emails, no internet, no cell phone connections to the “outside world” (the pattern of solitude). A time set aside for just the Lord and for self-discovery as the Lord speaks, guides, directs and relates as we build a stronger personal relationship (the presence of solitude). And, it is during these extended times, planned in advance, that I will certainly experience His life-changing power – the power of solitude is always amazing.
In my face-paced world I believe this needs to be more than a summer event or activity – it needs to become a year-round life style. Every three months I believe that I should be taking a few days (earned days off, a long-weekend, a few of my holiday days) away from regular, every-day life and the activities and commotion involved in life to simply “be still, and know that He is God.” I am sure the rest of the year will go much better for having adopted this proper pattern of spiritual solitude and that any ministry the Lord might ask me to accomplish will be more powerful as a result. Regardless, I know that my relationship with Him will certainly benefit and that is really all that matters.
How are you doing with solitude time and even a weekly sabbath?