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Seeking Solitude

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16

We live in a technologically advanced age.  The world is literally right at our fingertips.  Fax machines have become outdated.  Email is no longer the quickest method of communication.  Androids, IPhones, instant messaging, texting, and social websites are the latest wave of technology and communication.  We seem to be advancing so quickly that it is hard to imagine what tomorrow will bring.  How can it get much more advanced than it is today?  Next step is “beam me up, Scotty.”
 
Because of our constant connections with everyone we have ever known, or have yet to meet, it is difficult to unplug.  It is hard to find opportunities to completely disconnect from our everyday lives long enough to listen.  We live in constant noise, a faster than steady pace of life, and we always seem to be behind.  To be honest, if we were seeking to hear from God, it would be difficult to do so at the pace of life we are now living.  We just can’t seem to hear the voice of God like the great heroes of the faith did.  Why is that so?  Is God not speaking today like He did to Moses, Noah, Abraham, Joshua, Ruth and many others?  Why do so many people ask the same question, “Where is God and why is He not present today?”
 
To answer that question, we need not look to God, but in the mirror.  It is not that God is absent, or no longer speaking to His people, it is that we have failed to listen.  We have allowed our lives to become so cluttered with noise that we can no longer recognize the voice of our Creator.  Think about it.  Those great heroes of the faith that are written about in Scripture heard God because He had their undivided attention.  They walked everywhere, without ear buds blasting their favorite song.  They had no TV to provide empty entertainment to their days and nights.  There was no interstate that constantly hummed with traffic.  No crowded restaurants with an hour-long wait for a table.  Life was much more basic.  And because of that, people were much more dependent on God.  They had the time to listen.  And they heard the voice of God.
 
Intentionality is the key for us today.  We must create our own refuge from the hectic day to day activity to hear God speak.  Like Jesus, we must find time to withdraw to quiet, lonely places and listen.  We have to carve out time to pray, and to read God’s Word and give Him time to speak.  And we need to do it alone.  Sure, we need the community of others, at times, who are traveling the journey of faith, but there is a time to be still, alone, and listen.  No phones.  No texts.  No TV.  Nobody but  you and God.  That’s when we begin to hear His voice.  The psalmist would say it this way: “Be still, and know that I am God”  (Psalm 46:10).
 
When was the last time you were completely silent before God?  When was the last time you turned off your phone, your TV, and your computer, just to listen?  It’s a need of your spirit that can only be met in silence.  And in that silence, in His Word, He will speak.  Are you listening?  If Jesus needed solitude to pray and listen to His Father, how much more important is it that we should do likewise.  
 
Shhhhh.  Listen.  Maybe that’s Him now trying to get your attention.

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About the Author

Bruce has served in full-time ministry for over 25 years and has served as chaplain at the YMCA at Pabst Farms since August, 2006. Prior to moving to Wisconsin, he served as Associate Pastor of Missions and Evangelism at Alpha Baptist Church in Morristown, Tennessee as well as Minister of Activities and Recreation. .. Read More »

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