Our culture is not a community that exudes the love of Christ, but rather a perilous web of control and deception where we can easily become ensnared and perish in the process. The alluring forces of our dark world have already had a profound impact on us, making us busy people. We have several meetings, stops to make, and services to do. Our days, weeks, and years are packed with commitments, ideas, and projects. Our calendars are full of appointments. There is rarely a time when we are unsure about what to do. (Nouwen, 21 – 22) We must set aside time for rest so that we can recharge for future, more productive labor. We should make time to communicate with the master who gave us the assignment since He cares about our welfare and created the Sabbath rest.
- It enables us to cut off from the outside world and establish close ties with our soul. “In solitude, I remove my scaffolding,” stated Nouwen. How about scaffolding itself? It’s the things we utilize to support ourselves, such as our bank account, friends, family, TV, radio, books, jobs, technologies, and work. (27)
- Silence and Solitude lead us to an encounter—an encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a straightforward, though challenging, method for releasing us from the shackles of our jobs and preoccupations and allowing us to start hearing the voice that renews all things. Our ministry can only be fruitful if it grows out of a direct and intimate encounter with our Lord. (Nouwen, 31)
- We changed when we were alone, liberated from the public’s concept of who we should be (to be significant, spectacular, and powerful). The quote from Nouwen says, “Solitude is the furnace of transformation.” Without isolation, we continue to be victims of our society and get caught up in the false self’s illusions, he added. (25) Our contact with God in isolation causes us to change. It breaks the loop of continuously needing to control and regulate situations. It liberates us from the belief that we are unavoidable.
- We are disciplined in solitude to make the time and space necessary for God to become our master and for us to freely follow his leading. “My soul, wait quietly for God alone, for He is the source of my hope.” I won’t be moved because He alone is my fortress, my rock, and my salvation. (Ps 62.5-6)
- When alone, we become conscious of our misdeeds. It prevents us from passing judgment on the crimes of others. Real forgiveness is conceivable in this manner. Self-righteous people are transformed by silence and solitude into kind, compassionate, and forgiving individuals who are so fully conscious of their own tremendous sins and God’s even greater mercy that their existence itself becomes ministry. (Nouwen, 36-37)
- When we are alone ourselves, we are totally consumed by God. We discover the peace we seek in him. We come to see that nothing in humanity is foreign to us and that the source of all conflict, violence, injustice, cruelty, hate, jealousy, and envy is firmly rooted within each of us. There, our stone heart may become flesh, our rebellious heart can become contrite, and our closed heart can become a heart that can open to all those who are suffering in a show of solidarity. (Nouwen, 34)
- Being silent helps us restrain our speech. James 1:19 states, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” The tyranny we may impose on others with our words can be broken by silence and isolation. The ability to influence and control others around us is more difficult when we remain mute and follow James’ instruction. When we cultivate stillness, we put down our verbal weapons. It frequently serves as a reminder that we don’t actually need to speak as much as we believe we need. We discover that God can handle circumstances just fine without our input.
By Martin Kamaidan