The requirements of Solitude.
Solitude takes quieting, patience, and time.
There is a need to sit patiently and quiet one’s heart to rest. This is a primary reason why I believe mornings surpass any other time of day for devotion and meditations. In a sense, I have already been quieted by my rest, by my sleep. My heart is not agitated as later in the day when all the events and problems of the day have settled into my soul and unto my shoulders, like dust after a sand storm.
Solitude requires a letting go.
A letting go of all manner of things: emotions, events, circumstances, in a word…Control. Solitude requires that I willingly let go of control.
Solitude is more a state of the heart than a state of circumstance or presence. A person can be in a state of quiet solitude amongst a throng of people. St. Francis of Assisi; Mother Theresa; Mahatma Ghandi; Brother Andrew. Solitude is a state of confident trust, and faithfulness that comes from knowing my strength and security comes from another. One more immanent than I, one more powerful and all-knowing than I. The Triune God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Some describe solitude as a lonely place…but is it?
The “lonely” place God calls us to, the place of solitude, is a place of rest in the arms of the unseen. It is a place of sustenance, of provision for what lies ahead. God did not keep Elijah alone in the lonely place. God, sojourned with him, cared, provided for him...then…God sent Elijah back. Back to his place of ministry, back to life and people and intense service. The account of Elijah’s call and the ensuing famine and solitude which precipitated Elijah’s powerful confrontation with the Priests of Baal, attests to the powerful filling of solitude. (1Kings 17&18).
I believe the place of solitude is a place of highest calling. Moses met God at the burning bush in the wilderness (Exodus 3); Joshua met God outside of Jericho in the early wee hours of the morning (Joshua 5:13 – 6:5), both received a call, both received instructions for action, both received strengthening for the service ahead.
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22: 39-46), Jesus in the wilderness with the temptations (Matthew 4: 1-11), At the end of both of these times of extreme solitude angels came and ministered to Him
The place of solitude is both quietness, restfulness, but can also be a time of struggle. Moses struggled often with God in the place of solitude (Exodus 3:21-29). Jacob, as well, struggled with the Angel of the Lord in the place of solitude before his name was forever changed to Israel (Genesis 32:22-32). These are events we need to take heart from and continue regardless of the struggle to reach that place where we would hear God and be blessed and strengthened.
Solitude is not a physical place. Not a place I would visit only once. It is a place of return…again and again and again. Not geographical, but a place of the heart.
I can be in the most serene, pastoral, quiet place geographically but yet not be in the solitude, not be by myself. The people, events, circumstances of my life can be packed and brought along withy me…in my biggest suitcases, my heart…my mind…my soul.
Jesus instructed, take nothing with you for the journey, (Matthew 10: 2-16) inferring that all will be provided…do we believe Him, do we trust Him?
The “what ifs” of life are great rest stealers. It is a thief in the night or even the brazen day. What ifs steal our solitudeand with it our strength, confidence and peace are taken as well.
© 2010 UlrikeGrace