Into the Wilderness

Image via Timothy Denney, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite

Wallace Stegner, who is known as a novelist, short story writer, environmentalist, and historian, wrote these words in his famous, “Wilderness Letter,” “Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.”  How right Stegner was in these words. We need to lay aside our busyness and noise so we might draw near to our God and to ourselves as we really are.

John Climacus wrote, “The lover of silence draws close to God. He talks to Him in secret and God enlightens him.”  If we do not come to love silence, we will never reach the enlightenment we seek. We must slow down to reach deep and hear in the silence.  We must find solitude and stillness.

Mt. Dana 1 2016

Mount Dana, Yosemite Wilderness, California,

We live very busy lives, if left to our own devices and to the influences of the world.  Remember the words of Richard Foster, that our three main enemies to a strong spiritual life are hurry, noise, and crowds.   These can follow us to any place we live or travel if there is a cellular tower in the area. This onslaught of busyness, noise, people, whether in person or by our devices is sufficient to kill off most of times of spiritual refreshing our God has in mind for us.  “We must alter our lives in order to alter our hearts, for it is impossible to live one way and pray another,”  wrote William Law centuries ago.

The answer to this pressure is solitude.  Yet most would respond to this answer with something akin to “But when will I ever find time for solitude?”  The truth is, we will never find time for it.   If we would pursue our God, to know Him intimately and love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, finding time is not the answer.  We must make time.

We must make the time, carving it out of our busyness and the lesser pursuits that crowd out our time alone with our God.  Making time for significant solitude is not just for pastors and missionaries, by the way.  It is for everyone who takes seriously the call to discipleship and communion with our God.  Communion with our God is the principle reason for which He is reaching to us, and if we do not embrace that as our personal calling, we disagree with our God concerning His calling.

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