March 31, 2020 David Pounds

Growing in Solitude

Growing in Solitude

What affect is social distancing having on your spiritual life? Many have noted the opportunities for renewed habits of devotion—reading, prayer, journaling, etc. It’s one thing to see such an opportunity; its another to seize it. And right now, spiritual focus may be harder than normal—even if opportunity abounds.

The swirling fears of a novel virus and pressing economic uncertainties squeeze their way into our already overcrowded anxious hearts and minds. Streaming Netflix or scrolling endless social media feeds may be easy and enticing distractions, but they don’t really calm our concerns or help us grow. On the other hand, focused effort in such times to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly is difficult—especially without the encouraging support of the gathered body of Christ (Colossians 3:16).  

In the world of sports (when it’s not canceled!), there is something called the home-field advantage. There is an enormous amount of evidence that teams of all kinds consistently win more games at home than away. At home, teams win about 60% of the time—which means that there is a determining factor beyond the capability of the players. Studies confirm the obvious: it’s due to the support of the crowd. A packed and noisy crowd of fans effectively functions as an additional team member.

Christian life at present and the spiritual battles we face in solitude may feel something like an “away game” at the moment. It’s harder without the energizing strength of the gathered church. But that doesn’t mean you have to lose! This can be a time of marvelous spiritual progress, because—like an away game—it tests your inner resolve and reveals hidden resources of strength. Sometimes you have to feel alone and outmatched to discover, as Paul did, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

So, seize the opportunities you have now for spiritual growth. Don’t underestimate the way God uses solitude and silence. Draw near and listen to him. Strive repeatedly for spiritual focus. And, when you can, reach out and encourage someone. It has real spiritual effect in their life.