Thoughts on Solitude

March 4, 2009
9:09 pm

This is from a journal a few weeks ago during a day of solitude. As part of Trinity’s staff, I have been asked to take one DAWG (day away with God) day a month. February 4, 2009 11:08 AM I’m sitting in the tent trailer at Doheny State Beach, enjoying some time alone with God. I don’t feel good at doing alone time. My life is so full, always producing something, always solving some problem, always serving others, always working to keep my head above water at home and at work. I love all of this stuff and I sense God’s presence and pleasure in all of it. But now it is time to stop just for a few hours and it’s hard to put on the brakes. What am I stopping for? I guess I’m hoping to meet with God in a special way forsaking my agenda, searching for his. While I always seek to align my agenda with God’s, sometimes I may drift. I get distracted, impatient, over zealous, and I forget to listen, to really see, and to know God. That’s what this day is about, fine-tuning my receiver to make sure I’m hearing and seeing God clearly. I spent most of the morning out on the sand, reading the Scriptures, sitting quietly, talking to God a little, and trying to listen more. Of course my mind is used to running at high RPMs, so even when I’m quiet it’s hard to listen. I read from Exodus 20 this morning the account of God revealing himself on the top of the mountain. What a moment to try to imagine! It was such a fearful thing for the Israelites to meet with the Living God. Here’s what the people said to Moses as they waited at the bottom of the mountain.

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die. Moses said to the people, Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin. The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:18-21 ESV)

Perhaps that is one of the reasons for this DAWG (day away with God) day to be tested that the fear of the Lord may be before me, that I may not sin. I found myself thinking of my sister’s boyfriend, Todd, who will be leaving this weekend for 3 weeks of alone time as a requirement of his Spiritual Formation degree from Talbot Seminary. I can’t imagine 3 weeks! Perhaps that is like facing the mountain with the thick darkness and being invited like Moses to draw near. Fortunately, God has come near in a way he hadn’t yet in Moses’ time. Through his Son, Jesus, all who have faith in him now have complete access to God. But we must not forget that he is the same God as the one whose voice thundered on the mountain, making the people tremble. Worship leader, Matt Redman captured our relationship with the Lord by calling it, “The Friendship and the Fear.” It is both a comforting familiarity and an unsettling mystery all at once. Today I hope to discover both in increasing measure.

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Bill Born

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