I’m in the woods, hunting bear with my son. Josh and I are in the San Juan Mountain Range. With the exception of an occasional distant crow, the canyon is completely still. I experience the presence of God in the forest. My heart comes alive when there is complete silence. It’s in silence that God does some of His best work. Paul Simon once penned it as, “The Sound of Silence.”
David, the original wilderness man, knew God’s ways when he wrote, “Truly, my soul silently waits for God alone. From Him comes my salvation…He is my defense…I shall not be greatly moved.” (Psalm 61:1-2, NKJV). David found God in silence. David was strengthened in his spirit in the place of solitude.
In our hectic pace, driven by deadlines, our heart can flatline. Jan Johnson writes, “Part of the important work done in silence and solitude is detaching ourselves from the demands of our culture. Nothing breaks the power of hurry in our lives like practicing solitude and silence.” It works for me.
In the absence of urgent messaging and selfies, we see self-promotion for what it is. Through the practice of solitude, space is created within us, in which the character of Christ can grow. And out of reflection and self-examination, the transforming Spirit can begin to awaken our heart. We can begin responding to life, rather than reacting to it.
Making time to be apart, we gain inner silence and that frees us from the deceptions of the world. It equips us to grow as the person God is forming us to be. Solitude is not turning one’s back on the world; it is turning our face toward God in order to once again, face the world with a new heart.
Making time to be apart,
Steve Holt, M.A., D.D.