The Desert of Solitude

“But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.” -Galatians 1:15-17

“Others may, but you cannot.” That was not only a cross-stitched proverb I once saw hanging in someone’s hallway, but it was the direct and personal word of the Holy Spirit to me. I saw many of my Christian friends enjoying all sorts of wonderful activities, but if I ventured into the same, I felt out of place and a little uncomfortable. Not wanting to trouble my friends, I kept these feelings to myself and quietly retreated, not from my loved ones, but from the activities. My spirit felt better for it, but I was also lonely.

Those became marvelous times of fellowship with the Lord Jesus. Having forfeited activities that were, for the most part, morally neutral, I was more free to pursue a pure-hearted devotion to God. My loneliness became that which drove me deeper into the heart of my Savior.

Distancing yourself from something that once held your heart can be a kind of withdrawing into the desert of solitude where desires can be purified. It’s a way of detaching your desire from the magnetic pulls of this world in order to attach it more firmly to Christ.

The love of God constrains us all, but it more tightly constrains some than others, making the soul restless until it finds its desires fulfilled in the Lord and in the Lord only.

Make me sensitive to Your constraining love, Lord, and if You are calling me into a desert of solitude, please give me the courage to follow.
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