There are times when I crave solitude with God. If you’re reading this, I trust you know that feeling.
Creating Solitude with God
St. Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093-1109, felt it too:
“Come now, little man! flee for a while from your tasks, hide yourself for a little space from the turmoil of your thoughts. Come, cast aside your burdensome cares, and put away your laborious pursuits. For a little while give your time to God, and rest in Him for a little. Enter the inner chamber of your mind, shut out all things save God and whatever may aid you in seeking God; and having barred the door of your chamber, seek Him. Speak now, O my heart, O my whole heart, speak now and say to your God: My face hath sought Thee: Thy face, O Lord, will I seek . . .”
This weekend I finally got away to a place where I could be completely alone and have some unobstructed God time.
Yet I almost missed it. Life has a way of keeping me super-busy. Between my full-time jobs as a professor and parent, taking care of older relatives and working on a book, my time is stretched pretty thin.
Nevertheless, God knew I needed this time, and God compelled me to go anyway.
God Invites Us to Spend Time with Him
I admit, I was quite amazed when I recognized how God orchestrated this whole trip. I couldn’t help thinking about Esther’s story. Although God’s name is never mentioned in her story, His actions behind the scenes are evident.
Similarly, Elijah knew it was time to leave when the water dried up and the raven stopped coming around to bring him food. Likewise, when my shower’s tub cracked, I needed to find a place to shower for a few days while my bathroom underwent some emergency remodeling.
That led me to visit an old friend who needed me just as much as I needed him. It wasn’t long before we both realized God called this meeting.
Jesus explains how this works in John 6:44: “No one,” he says, “can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. . .”
God Renews Our Minds
What Anselm’s inner chamber of the mind is to him, the beach is to me. There’s something about being alone in nature, with just the sights and sounds of the gentle waves massaging pure white sand, that calms and renews my mind.
As we started walking along the beach, I suggested we walk separately to spend time alone in prayer and reflection. For four miles down and back I walked with God. My friend did the same.
You know what really blows my mind? That craving in my soul to connect with God originated with God’s desire to connect with me.
How amazing it is to know the Creator of the universe invited two old friends to reunite and step inside His throne room! Psalm 15 says, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” That day, we were both there- not because we barged in, but because God called us to Himself.