Do the majority of the rooms in your house have some type of stereo system?
Is turning on the radio or CD player one of the first things you do when you get in the car?
Do you find you can’t think clearly unless there is music going on in the background?
Are you uncomfortable with silence?
If you answered, “yes” to most of the questions above, then you may want turn off your stereo and consider the benefits of some silence and solitude.
Jim Elliot, a martyr for his faith in Christ, said, “I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, and crowds…Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.”
In our culture it is so easy to get caught up in the rush of life. Jobs, family, friends, and activities all compete for our time. We often feel pulled in all different directions, like a toy that is fought over by a group of children. Unfortunately, we as Christians may fall into the trap of spiritualizing our busyness. In the name of Christ, we meet needs, visit people, attend Bible studies, lead small groups, and serve others while juggling a job, close relationships, household duties. And then we too often skip the necessities of eating and sleeping. As we hustle and bustle from one thing to the next, we can also easily neglect our personal relationship with the Lord and slowly become less focused on living for His glory.
Please keep in mind that none of the activities listed in the previous paragraph are necessarily wrong, and the Lord does call us to let our light shine so that others may see our good works and glorify Him (Matthew 5:16). However, it is important for us to realize the benefits that come when we are able to separate ourselves from the distractions of life, quiet our hearts before the Lord, and regain a spiritual perspective.
Even during the height of His ministry, Christ Himself, the ultimate servant and our supreme example, took the time to get alone with His Father (Matthew 4:23). He was continually wanted and needed by the crowds and had the power to do things no one else could do, yet He knew the importance of pulling away in order to be alone.
In looking back over my years at college, some of my most precious times with the Lord occurred when I carved out time to “get away.” Because the college was located in a small town, it was often difficult to find a place where there weren’t at least two or three other students. However, I discovered that God is more than happy to meet me in the woods on a weekday afternoon, in an empty classroom 30 minutes before class started, in the car driving to work, or even in my room before everyone else awoke.
The discipline of silence and solitude is not just for those in monasteries. It is not something that is out of reach or something we can excuse away with our busy schedules. We simply need to seize the moments that allow us to focus on Christ, even if it is just in the few minutes before we wake up or before we go to bed. It is amazing to think about how much time we spend commuting to and from work or running errands. We could easily choose to spend that time praying, reviewing Scripture, or praising God for his incredible attributes instead of simply turning on the radio.
Life does not present us with blocks of time when absolutely nothing is planned, when nothing needs to be done, and when no one needs our attention. The demands on our time seem to grow greater as we get older, as does our need for refreshment. It may take creativity and persistence, but it is well worth our effort to find those special times and places where we can get alone with our Savior.
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