I must admit that once I had kids I started treasuring that alone time more, and wanting it in more abundance (just, consequently, when I was getting it LESS often.). Still, I'm more likely to spend my "alone" time with a friend or eight (either in person or through email or text) than truly alone.
That, perhaps, is why Saturday December 21st's Streams in the Desert devotional knocked me cold.
There are no birds that live in as much solitude as eagles, for they never fly in flocks. Rarely can even two eagles be seen together. And a life that is dedicated to God knows divine fellowship, no matter how many human friendships have had to be forfeited along the way.Walking alone with Him. Human friendships forfeited. Solitude. These concepts came to bite me as I read in the early morning hours. Especially that middle one.
God seeks "eagle people," for no one ever comes into the full realization of the best things of God in his spiritual life without learning to walk alone with Him. (Streams in the Desert, L. B. Cowman, December 20)
My friends are absolutely, positively precious to me. I chat with them, pray with them, laugh with them, cry with them, share with them. They encourage me, and I do the same back. They whip me back into line when I need it, and I'll do the same for them.
These can't be the kinds of friends God is talking about. He means the moochers, the users, the acquaintances that distract us. Maybe He's talking about my non-believing friends--the ones who, purposely or not, pull me away from Him. That must be what God is talking about. He can't possibly mean my encouraging, praying, supportive friends.
Or can He?
May we allow God to isolate us, but I do not mean the isolation of a monastery. It is in the experience of isolation that the Lord develops an independence of life and of faith so that the soul no longer depends on the continual help, prayers, faith, and care of others. The assistance and inspiration from others are necessary, and they have a place in a Christian's development, but at times they can actually become a hindrance to a person's faith and welfare. (Streams in The Desert, December 20. Emphasis mine)Am I so dependent on my friends that I am not leaning on Jesus? Do I feel like my prayers to my Lord are not enough, that I have to get my sisters in Christ to pray along for them to be effective? Am I using my friends as a crutch to avoid being alone with the One who knows my every fault and my every sin?
I don't think I am, but there have certainly been times when I was teetering on the edge. And that is not a good place to be.
It may seem that Christmas, a time with such a focus on friends and family, is an odd time to contemplate solitude with our Savior. But maybe that's the point. With all the busyness and craziness of Christmas time, it is perhaps now, more than ever, that we need to be sure that our focus is on Him.
Friends and family are certainly important, perhaps more than ever this time of year, and in times as these. But they can't be the most important.God may not be asking me, or you for that matter, to sacrifice dear friends to be closer to Him, to have that "divine fellowship" that might require it. But He might be--if not now, at some later date.
Are you willing?
Heavenly Father, I so want to have that divine fellowship with You. Help me to be willing to make any sacrifice necessary--any sacrifice You ask me to make--to be closer to Christ than anyone or anything. I want to rid myself of any obstacles to that fellowship, Lord, whether or not they are contrary to my natural bent. Help me, Lord to truly seek You first, and to long for, more than anything, solitude with You. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.