When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.
- Mark 4:10
“When God gets us alone through suffering, heartbreak, temptation, disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted desires, a broken friendship, or a new friendship— when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are totally speechless, unable to ask even one question, then He begins to teach us. Notice Jesus Christ’s training of the Twelve. It was the disciples, not the crowd outside, who were confused. His disciples constantly asked Him questions, and He constantly explained things to them, but they didn’t understand until after they received the Holy Spirit (see John 14:26).
As you journey with God, the only thing He intends to be clear is the way He deals with your soul. The sorrows and difficulties in the lives of others will be absolutely confusing to you. We think we understand another person’s struggle until God reveals the same shortcomings in our lives. There are vast areas of stubbornness and ignorance the Holy Spirit has to reveal in each of us, but it can only be done when Jesus gets us alone. Are we alone with Him now? Or are we more concerned with our own ideas, friendships, and cares for our bodies? Jesus cannot teach us anything until we quiet all our intellectual questions and get alone with Him.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
The parable that Jesus explained was the parable of the sower. The key words from the Scripture are the first four, “When he was alone.”
Do you have a quiet place? Okay, if you have our 6-year-old grandson on your block (maybe a 2-3 block radius), there is no quiet place, but he begrudgingly goes to sleep – sometimes.
My quiet place is in the basement. Without a handrail down the stairs, my wife rarely ventures down there. I read about someone who had a closet set up with a chair, their journal, and their Bible. It must have been a walk-in closet, in order to have a light once the door was closed.
The world is noisy, and God’s voice is soft. I have often wondered why. I think it is because He really wants us to work at seeking Him. The casual request followed by shouting from God takes little effort and may not reflect a full commitment.
And it may be hard to find quiet, and not because of a noisy child either. One of Satan’s favorite tools is noise, really any kind of distraction. Have you ever been in the midst of Bible study, for whatever reason, and you realize that you need a book that is at the far end of the house? As you pass by the kitchen, something is cooking and smelling wonderful. As you pass by the muted television something is on the television that you always wanted to learn more about. And then once you reach the bookshelf, you get the sudden urge to go to the bathroom. Satan must love distraction more than noise. In fact, noise is just one of the distractions.
Regardless of life’s distractions, you need time with God. Jesus took the time to be totally alone. He sought time to be alone with the twelve. We need time alone with just God. We need time alone with those who can mutually support each other and learn more about God while doing so, something like a Bible study group or a Sunday school class. And we need to be alone with people that we can impart the knowledge that God has allowed us to learn. Alone with God is important, but alone with small groups, and the intention of furthering God’s kingdom, is important as well.
But beware of some forms of solitude. I have known unbelievers who try to totally isolate the rest of their immediate family, cutting them off from relatives, friends, classmates. They fear that their fellow family members might see the Light and never return. I pray that they escape.
For the person with intellectual knowledge of Jesus and no faith that Jesus can and should oversee our lives, solitude in that environment can be deadly. If Jesus is within you, that type of solitude might have the opposite of the intended effect, giving the person more time to get closer to God, but it could also stunt Christian growth, cut off from other believers.
And for some people, the only place where they are safe while worshipping their heavenly Father is in that quiet place.
We need to remember that many around the world do not share the freedom that some do, and that the enemy is working hard to try to take that freedom away.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.