Now on to today~
“As Christians, we are called to convert our loneliness into solitude. We are called to experience our aloneness not as a wound but as a gift–as God’s gift–so that in our aloneness we might discover how deeply we are loved by God.”
~ Henri Nouwen ~
I was all set to give you dictionary details on solitude and loneliness….but you already know what they both mean. Let me instead share two scripture verses, among many that I found where Jesus Himself sought solitude with His Father.
Mark 1:35 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.
Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
I remember a time in my life, I will call it a horrible hormonal time, when I did not want to be around people. I felt miserable. Have you ever been there? Noise bothered me, smells of food bothered me, people bothered me.
I couldn’t put my finger on the Problem. I went to the doctor. He counseled with me (he was a wonderful Christian physician) and prayed with me. He also prescribed me medication. It helped somewhat. But like all medication, I didn’t take it long. I needed a long term fix. I needed something fixed in my heart. I took it to the Great Physician.
My needs were met at an old fashioned altar at my home church. Yes, I confess there are times in my life when some of those old feelings threaten to over take me again, but I rush back to the throne, on my face before my Lord. He gives me what I need in my soul. Restoration. Peace. Balance. (This is something we need to address. Each of us….well, maybe not you…but I know I’ve been sort of out of balance these past few weeks.
Since we are instructed to follow the life of Christ, to pattern our lives after His, we should “seek” after the place of solitude to spend time with our heavenly Father as well. I enjoy time alone for different reasons than before. My husband enjoys his time alone as well. That alone place is where I am able to gather my rapidly running thoughts and corral them into prayers and praise to God. Like when I am driving alone. I am not alone. I am most always conversing with my Father. If not actually talking with Him, then I am listening to His Word, or listening to wonderful praise and worship music. But then there are those times—like every single day this week…when my patience in driving has been sorely tested. I must have had a sign on the front of my truck that said “Please slow down if you get in front of me!”
Sometime back while driving, I was listening to a book on tape by Jan Karon called “Light from Heaven”. While listening to that book, I conversed with God. I wept at the weepy parts and rejoiced and laughed at the rejoicing and laughing parts. God intends for us to live our lives in such a way as to include Him in every area. Why don’t we do that more often?
Why do I let the cares and troubles of my life get me so bogged down that I feel lonely inside? I have friends…I have precious family. But when I get so overwhelmed by circumstances, and even friends and family—as much as I love them—can’t fix my problems. They (my problems) become veritable mountains that I cannot fathom how to climb. Are you like that?
Instead of focusing on the mountain….let’s sneak off to a place of solitude….where instead of “concentrating on the feeling of loneliness, we feel His presence. In the solitude we seek Him. The Bible says that when we seek Him, we will find Him. He will inhabit our praises. He will dwell with us. As He dwells within us!
I want to feel Christ Jesus dwelling with me every minute of the day. I need Him—as the song says, “every hour, I need Him”.
I love my solitude, my quiet times with Jesus. I often told my girls, you are never alone (I especially reminded them of this when they were dating!) It is a comfort to me to know that Jesus is here. Every hour of every day. In the “hormonal months (maybe even years)” of my life, God has used those times to teach me things. He is always there.
There is another an old song that says this:
“I’m never alone,
no never alone.
Christ Jesus is with me,
wherever I go.
I hold to His Hand,
lean on His strong arm,
He’s ever with me
and I’m never alone.”
For that, I am thankful and for all other blessings, I am thankful! I love and thank you all for your kindness to me this year—for prayers prayed—sweet notes mailed or e-mailed and phone calls too. You are all incredible blessings—and I thank you!