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FIRST: Solitude

SolitudeSpending time alone with God at first seemed like a foreign concept to me. In my youth I had always held the idea that we sort of ‘visited’ God in church, like Grandma on Sunday afternoons. Next I adopted the attitude of going to church to hear what God was thinking or if there was a girl involved.

Later as a young Christian, I was introduced to the idea of a quiet time of personal devotions. The concept that I could find a place by myself and listen to hear God speak directly to me was still foreign. After all, He had a busy schedule of running the universe. Famines, floods, and earthquakes; war, politics, man’s inhumanity, and a wide variety of other maladies seemed to be much more on His schedule than I would be.

I found it very different, when with God’s word before me,

I began to sense that what he was saying both in the scripture and in the quietness of my own heart was actually communication directly to me.

How absolutely incredible it is that the one who spoke stars into existence and gave life to the universe could know me. How incredible that He could have something to say about my hurts and fears, my wounding as well as my hopes, plans and questions.

“What I failed to realize was that God was seeking to draw me nearer, continuing his creative work in me.”

Of course the problem was that when He spoke, both challenge and conviction were heard. At first I felt like David who cried out, “my sin is ever before me”.  What I failed to realize was that God was seeking to draw me nearer, continuing his creative work in me.

The second difficulty I faced was the ability to focus. The everyday business of my life kept creeping into my thoughts, the phone would ring or some good thing I had forgotten to do would burst in the door. Satan as an angel of light, was desperate to separate me from that garden walk with the Spirit.

The continuing explosion of our universe, ever outward and expanding, was being contrasted to the growing implosion of His Spirit within me.

It was not some inner lesson in deep theological or doctrinal truths, but more like an 8th grade shop class, where a shepherding teacher was trying to keep us from cutting off fingers or limbs as we worked on our own very humble projects.

My own take-away from these early experiments was of understanding of a God who actually cared about me.

The journey to the edges of the universe seen no less amazing than the fact that God would journey within me to expand the capacity of my soul as he created within me.