The Value of Solitude
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations I will be exalted in the earth." - Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
Solitude, the state of being alone, is often considered one of the traditional spiritual disciplines. The idea is to be alone with God, to pray, to meditate on His Word and to simply enjoy His Presence. As we allow God to heal our hidden neediness, anxieties and pain, we experience a more authentic personal connection to God and others. Some people use solitude as a way to distance themselves from the distractions of the world, acknowledge the interior of their hearts and hear God speak.
The Bible supports the value of solitude. Psalm 46:10 states, “Be still, and know that I am God.” “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him. It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone and keep silent, because God has laid it on him” (Lamentations 3:25-28).
There are examples of God’s people practicing solitude in the Bible. Moses met regularly with the Lord at the tabernacle (Exodus 33:7, 11). God spoke with Elijah (1 Kings 19) and Jacob (Genesis 32:24-32) while these men were alone. The best example is Jesus Christ our Lord, Who often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16). Jesus, God Incarnate, spent time alone with His Father. We see Him seeking solitude after performing miracles (Mark 1:35), in times of grief (Matthew 14:13), before choosing the twelve apostles (Luke 6:12, 13), in His distress in Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-44) and at other times. Solitude was a consistent practice in Jesus’ life and should be even more so in our lives.
Jesus invited His disciples to share times of group solitude with Him. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they didn’t have a chance to eat. Jesus said to His disciples, ‘come with me alone to
a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in the boat to a solitary place” (Mark 6: 31, 32).
Biblically speaking, solitude is a valuable practice. Alone time with God allows Him to examine us. It can be a time of knowing God more intimately, a time of strengthening, a time of refreshment, a time of sharing our deepest concerns with God and a time of simply being with the One Who created us and loves us unconditionally.
When we spend time in solitude it allows us to refocus on what is truly important. We need time away from others, from cell phones, from television shows and the daily grind of business. We do not want the worries of this life to choke out the Word of God (Mark 4:19). Rather, let us create a desire to spend time with Jesus and, like Mary of Bethany, sit at His feet to hear His Word (Luke 10:39).
During this Lenten season let us pause and enjoy our families, deepen our relationships with friends and family and more importantly with God. Therefore, come with Jesus Christ to a solitary place, be still and know that God is God. In fervent prayer and in the silence of our souls, let us “turn [our] eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace”.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to be still and know that You are God. Deepen our confidence in Your promise that Your favor rests upon us because of Jesus and His cross. Let Your peace flood our hearts and fill our lives now and always. Help us to live and serve You and others in Your resurrection power. Amen