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We seem to have dedicated ourselves to avoiding them, often just because we don’t want to be alone with ourselves or with God. Even when we are forced to be alone, we bring our portable screens that can keep us in constant communication with our contact lists, breaking news stories, or whatever is trending on face book or google. We want to feel like we are constantly available and in the know. We turn on radios in the car and TVs at home to “keep us company”. We listen to whatever will entertain us or keep us from thinking too deeply.

Do you fear quiet and solitude or do you seek them? When is the last time you were comfortable enough with yourself to honestly evaluate your choices or courageous enough to dream big dreams? When is the last time you made sure your thoughts couldn’t be interrupted? When is the last time you made yourself unavailable to anyone but God?

There is a story about Martin Luther that I think explains much about the strength and power of this remarkable man. He typically spent the first 3 hours of his day in prayer. His assistant chided him one morning to skip his prayer time and dive right in to his tasks for the day because they were so important. Martin Luther explained that the significance of his day required that alone time in prayer. That time with God gave him the perspective and wisdom he needed for what should be done.

If the only communication I have with someone is a quick text or occasional tweet, we don’t have much of a relationship. If I am trying to have personal conversation with someone who is constantly returning a text or taking another phone call or ignoring me to talk to someone else, it becomes very clear that I am not valued by that person. How often do we treat God like that? How often do we ask God for direction but miss his answer in our busyness? What would happen if we listened to God more than we talked? What would he say if we put ourselves in a solitary place with no distractions and dedicated that time to hearing from him?

Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

If the Son of God himself needed that time, how much more do we? Jesus only had three years to train the disciples and prepare them to live without him. But he needed time with his Father in a solitary place in order to accomplish all he needed to do. Somehow, solitary time with God makes the rest of our day more efficient and more intentional.

The older I get, the more I seem to need alone, quiet time. I can’t process the difficult or make peace with the unknown when I’m immersed in deadlines or trying to accomplish more than I have time for. I’ve found that multitasking may take me to the end of my “to do list”, but it doesn’t benefit my soul or my relationships. Mindless activity doesn’t strengthen me. My insight and my perspective, my understanding of the “big picture” and my peace with God’s power over my present and my future come only from the times when I am separated from distractions and see my life from his point of view.

This day, may you find a solitary place where you can know and delight in the presence of God. May you see yourself as his beloved child and find rest in the knowledge that he watches over you always.