Key Word:- CONNECT
Title:- Solitude & the Solace of the Son.
John 6:15 He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.
John Eldridge writes from the heart, about the heart. He sees the absolute necessity of small communities living and fighting for one another’s hearts. From his book ‘Waking the Dead’ I have pulled just two comments referring to small community and what is necessary for them to work. Here’s the first “Most churches survive because everyone keeps a polite distance from the others” and secondly “Community cannot live without solitude.”These two statements describe the two extremities of ‘community’. The first being the ‘toe dip’. The ‘toe dip’ is like getting all dressed down to go swimming, then wrapping the thickest towel around you whilst tentatively dipping your toe into the waters in front of everyone who’s urging you to come in, but in response you simply smile politely, saying “Ooh it’s freezing, I’ll just wait a while..” You are there but your are not there and truth is, have no intention of going there. It’s might be bad English, but it’s the truth. Most of us are like that.
The second statement describes the ‘dive bomb’. You’ve gone and got yourself naked and then ran screaming with joyful expectation, leaping into community from the side of the pool with a giant “I’m here!” explosion of a splash, only to find people wished you would have least put some bathing attire on and actually, they can’t look at you properly anyway now because they are rubbing the chlorine water splash that you made, out from underneath their eyelids, and the waves of that same splash are lifting them up from their own grounded bottom and bouncing them up and then thumping them down again. This community cannot cope with your naked and needy, naughty and noisy arrival. Stop doing that! No community can meet your every naked need!
The church is an organism not an organisation. The church is a community not a convocation. The church is a body of mutual ministry. These three good statements that the church is an organism, a community and a body of mutual ministry may be true, but can also lead us to a thoroughly unwarranted belief that the church is a community where everything that is lacking and needful for us to glorify God, is in fact most wonderfully provided for. For after all, the church is a community where we get every need met and every hurt healed! You know, church community is fun, fodder, fellowship and fixing! HA! If only it were so.
With such unrealistic expectation in our hearts, community can move from the place of encounter with God to replacement for God! The church community however is not a replacement for God, because the church community even when it is at its best in being powerful and spiritually productive, cannot fix everything!
Eldridge has it! 'Community cannot live without solitude' In other words, total reliance on others, whether in community, single friendships, marriage or even children, to come and meet our deepest need is simply an unrealistic madness. No one, no matter how lovely, can meet the deep needs of our heart. We need to get alone with God friends.
You see, the solitude I speak of is actually the ‘company of Jesus’. We need to get alone with Him. Now, for most of us, this is a challenge of gigantic proportion. We fear being alone with ourselves, for we do not truly know (or like) ourselves and are uncomfortable in even our own presence. We fear being alone with ourselves for we do not truly know ourselves. In the same way, we fear being alone with God, for we do not intimately know Him (or really trust Him) and so are also uncomfortable in His presence. Yet being alone with God is absolutely vital to our own health and healing and consequently it is directly related to the blessing, or lack thereof, that we bring to community. Do you see that?
Solitude is to be with oneself and with God, and solitude is the only place where we can receive the intimate solace of the Son. So despite our fear, despite our manufactured business, we need to seek some solitude each and every single day. It is only when we get naked with God that we can see ourselves for who we are. It is only then, that we can accept, honour and help others in our Christ-like communities.
I remember a wreck of a woman, quickly and most fearfully finding herself naked, hurt, ashamed and alone with Jesus…….
Listen:- When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11
Pray: - Lord I have once again believed the lie that You do not care and that You do not speak and even if You do, it is but to pick and to condemn. I have believed the lie that You do not love me and are not good. Will you seek my company again dear Lord. Draw close to me today, call my name, call me to You dear Jesus.