“Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.” “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.” “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” “And he said to them,’Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” Exodus 34:2; Matthew 6:6; 14:23; Mark 1:35; 6:31
I watched a lone dolphin this morning, dipping, gliding, arcing up to gulp air out from his natural abode. He had no companion, appeared unfettered, and seemed to have unlimited time to swim in the clear green water. I have been transfixed at a swan, graceful and calm in a wide deep pond, in solitude watching her reflection. There is something intrinsically beautiful, and alluring, in watching God’s creatures, often in groups, fully alive, serene, peaceful, in their aloneness.
How seldom we get alone. Seldom do we take time to dip and glide and stretch beyond our normal habitat to breathe in holy air. Away from people and screens and man-made noise. Apart from the cacophony of urgencies, information vying for our attention, clutter. Quiet, able to reflect and see what we reflect to others. Alone, with eyes closed, allowing ourselves to review, to consider, to think. How rich is our fare when we do!
What keeps me from taking time alone? It is a discipline that does not come naturally, but must be cultivated. What Charles Hummel coined “the tyranny of the urgent” incessantly competes for our focus and and affection, but why do I so readily yield to its allure? Can I no longer discern between what is distracting and what is important? Have I become addicted to checking off trivialities to the neglect of the significant? Where am I being deceived and re-routed off a good course that includes quiet to one that hums with busyness?
Am I afraid to see my own reflection, do I fear what I might hear from my Sovereign? Have I become so comfortable with my status quo that I cringe at the thought of God messing with me if I have to be vulnerable with Him? Do I fear getting to know myself more than I fear the God Who made me?
When I do get away with God, is it with my prayer list I want stamped with ready approval, my coins for God’s vending machine, instead of alone, with empty paper, no agenda, open hands and heart?
“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.” Psalm 63:5-6
Father, teach me the regular practice of leaving behind my worldly companions and getting alone with You.