OUT OF THE CLOSET



Once you have spent time in solitude, you return to life in community. It is a rhythm that we all must learn. 



A return to the noisy world can be troubling if we believe that our practice of prayer, solitude or fasting has somehow caused us to be suddenly more mature or better than those who did not show as much discipline.

Trusting in God may be a challenge for you if you’re more comfortable trusting in your own spiritual efforts. You may have decided that if you do the ‘right’ things, then God will be obligated to approve of you.
If you fulfill your religious obligations (i.e., go to church, help the needy, not curse, pray, read the Bible, give money, visit the sick, etc.), then God must keep his end of the bargain (i.e., all nothing bad to happen to you or those you love).
You may have reduced the gift of salvation to a mere contract with God. God has become your spiritual business partner.[1]


In solitude we must learn to rest in the mercy of God’s love for the broken, weak person that we really are. God loves us! We return to society with a sober mind and humility. The truth learned and the Presence experienced in solitude will equip us to come out of the prayer closet and love more patiently. Solitude does not need to be lost when you depart from it.


“A day filled with noise and voices can be a day of silence, if the noises become for us the echo of the presence of God, if the voices are, for us, messages and solicitations of God. When we speak of ourselves and are filled with ourselves, we leave silence behind. When we repeat the intimate words of God that he has left within us, our silence remains intact.” [2]


Think about your reality being transformed in such a way that you hear echoes of God in every noise and conversation. What if your words were transformed by what you heard from God in times of solitude?

Let me leave you with a prayer written by Thomas Merton in his book ‘Thoughts In Solitude’. Say this one aloud.


“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”[3]





[1] Dr. Gregory L. Jantz and Dr. Tim Clinton, “Don’t Call It Love”, Revell ©2015, p.168
[2] Catherine de Haeck Doherty, Poustinia: Christian Spirituality of the East for Western Man (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 1974), p. 23
[3] Thomas Merton, Thoughts In Solitude, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999

Comments

David Wagner said…
Great thoughts here Kevin.Sometimes when you have to be alone because of pain or surgery you end up having some serious conversations with God. You often end up asking the question-"Why have you allowed this to happen to me?" For me it was a time to slow me down from the frantic pace of life I always live. It gave me time to ask God what he really wanted me to do with my life.It was a time where I allowed the peace of God to flood over my soul, calm my spirit and let me hear his still small voice.
Kevin Rogers said…
That's so true David. God has a wonderful bedside manner when we find ourselves immobilized. I'm slowly learning to go to God before I 'have to'.

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