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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Solitude



It's interesting how we can read the same Scripture repeatedly, but sometimes it speaks different truth into our lives than we had ever imagined.

As you know, if you've read this blog more than a couple of times, lately; God's presence, God's nearness, God's accessibility to humanity, even, has become an important theme for me.  So, the following verse might appear to flow seamlessly with what I have been repeating over and over and over again:

Psalm 139:7, "Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?" (NIV).

Nothing about these words should strike me as profound, except that they are words that I was reading very differently just a short time ago.  Instead of taking them in context and recognizing the beauty of a God who is near, there was a period of time during which I was reading them as a literal question.  I legitimately wanted to know where I could go to escape God's Spirit.  I wanted to be alone.  I wanted to be very, very alone.

Notably, I don't want that anymore, and I'm glad to recognize, again, that the answer to this question is nowhere.  There is nowhere I can go from God's Spirit.  There is nowhere I can flee from God's presence.  It's not that God is a stalker or anything like that.  It is that God is genuinely close, making Godself within reach, even when we are floundering in the dark... hoping that we will reach through that in order to join God... hoping that we'll choose community over solitude. 

Not that solitude is always bad.  As a matter of fact, solitude is one of the often neglected spiritual disciplines that I think we would do well to embrace... for a time.  Solitude can be beautiful for a variety of reasons, but I think one of them is the profound understanding we gain of our need for community.  Solitude can refresh, but it should always end with reconnecting.  While it might be futile to look for the place we can go to hide from God, it is not such a bad idea to occasionally enter into the place where only God can find us.  And sometimes we appreciate the light a whole lot more when we emerge from the darkness.

But we really should emerge...  you know... at some point...

L.

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