The Significance of Solitude

With the tremendous promises of technology, we all thought that our lives were going to be more stress free.  But this has not really been the case.  Instead, we are more stressed.  Increasingly we find more and more people seeking psychological and psychiatric help, to deal with their high stress levels.

I believe solitude is an answer to our stress-laded society (but not the only answer; perhaps you can think of more).  By solitude I have in mind time alone with God, that is, separating ourselves from all those elements which tend to crowd God out, on the one hand, and stress us out, on the other.

Even Jesus sought solitude.  “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16, NIV). It was his custom to be alone with his Father heavenly Father.

There are several benefits to seeking solitude:

First, in a world which increasingly seeks to sever us from the Father, solitude may be viewed as a means of keeping us close to the Father’s heart.

Second, the believer finds rest for his soul when he is alone with the Father.  David sings, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him” (Psa. 62:5 ESV, emphasis added).

Third, the believer is better prepared to discover God’s perspective in a moment of decision. “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them…” (Luke 6:12, 13).  Notice how Jesus sought solitude with the Father before he chose the Twelve.  I believe this is quite instructive.

Finally, the believer is able to face whatever life may throw at him, because spending time with the Father, allows for a complete surrender to the will of the Father.  Jesus is our chief example here.  The writer to the Hebrews informs us that “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Heb. 5:7).  Remember, that it was during this time in the Gethsemane we find Jesus saying to the Father, “Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 15:36).  Get this, when we spend time alone with the Father, we will be armed to face the devil, the world and the flesh and gain the victory, knowing that not our will, but God’s will must be done (Mark 15:36).

In other words, solitude frees us, to be alone with God.

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7 Responses to The Significance of Solitude

  1. Colin Heath says:

    Good to see you “back in circulation”. I missed your regular insights.

    On this one you have touched an area which has been very close to my heart and featuring strongly in my own walk with the Lord over the last 18 months or so. I have drunk and sometimes preached from the texts you quote as well as others (Is 55 v1, and 40 v 31 “Wait upon the Lord”).

    The big one for me was shortly after taking early retirement from employment (mid 2011) I went on a Silent Retreat at Lee Abbey (West Country in UK). I was looking to spend time seeking direction and priorities for the immediate future and I met the Lord in ways I had not known for some time. I felt strongly drawn to seek more solitude and toexplore silent/contemplative prayer and biblical meditation, 2 books I have since found helpful are “Letters of a Modern Mystic” by Frank C Laubach and “Rhythms of Grace” by Tony Horsfall. In other areas of life I have felt His leading and nudging.

    Retirement has been far from boring so far. And not jsut because of the 4 grandchildren!

    Do keep sharing how and where this one leads you.

    • TC says:

      Colin, thanks for sharing. I hope your intentional seeking of solitude becomes contagious. Well, keep pressing away and I know the Lord has another assignment for you. 😉

      I’ve seen that title “Rhythms of Grace” and been a bit curious. I think I’ll give it a second look now that you have mentioned it.

  2. MW says:

    Two vital venues mentioned there–solitude and waiting. Both so counter-cultural!

  3. Lon says:

    Yes – so important. And I would add that the Lord’s Day/Sabbath is our God-given weekly opportunity for solitude, if we take advantage of it.

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