Desert life

Desert life



You will agree with me that in today’s world we are surrounded by plenty of noise. This is the case especially in urban centers where life is quite hectic. Unfortunately, many of us become accustomed to this noise and even in some cases come to fear silence. You will not be surprised to find that when someone walks in a quiet room, they will instinctively look for any source of “noise.” They will often switch on the radio, TV and any source of “noise.” When choosing a means of transport to travel in say a taxi, mini-bus, bus, they will certainly go for one with the loudest music. It is however necessary to once in a while seclude yourself and reflect on your relationship with God.

Jesus, around whom most of us model in our lives, used to withdraw from public regularly to be alone with God. We too need such moments often, in order to seek God’s guidance in channeling our energies. Retreats offer spectacular moments for silence, recollection, contemplation and reflection. Spiritual growth is largely facilitated by the way we plan to spend our days. A positive day plan for each day will always facilitate time for the enrichment of the soul.

The day’s activities should be planned in such a way that all the faculties that constitute the individual person are attended to that is mental, spiritual, physical. Moments of loneliness arise and are, at times, unavoidable and it is proper for man to be alone sometimes.

It seems that when Adam lived in the Garden of Eden, he had a close and warm relationship with the creator, and this connection was destabilized when Adam got another human being for company. One cannot miss the personal conversation between God and Adam, which occur even after Adam and Eve had sinned. When God turned in the garden, He addressed Adam in a very personal manner, “God called the man saying to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9).

It can be argued that God keeps company with every person who is alone. Whereas some people prefer to alone and are self-confessed “loners,” others are forced to be alone by circumstances. Someone maybe arrested and put in a lonely cell as a punishment. A parent can be abandoned by children when they live and work far away from home.

A community can isolate a person they consider problematic. A spouse may remain alone if the partner dies. On the other hand, a person may choose to be alone and to make the best out of this situation. Therefore, being alone is not always bad or avoidable and Jesus shows this in many ways.

After his baptism, Jesus stayed alone in the desert for forty days with wild animals but angels ministered to him. When Jesus sent away the disciples and all crowds, he went up on the mountain and when evening came, he was there alone. (Matthew 14:23). It was a habit of Jesus Christ to stay alone when praying as recorded in Luke 5:16, “The news about Jesus spread…. crowds gathered…But He would go away to places where he could be alone for prayers.” The presence of God seems more profound when one is alone; able to listen to the gentle voice of God which lies at ease within us.

Meditation and personal reflection occurs best in conditions of loneliness. Teaching on prayer, Jesus Christ said, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray…. In secret; and your father who sees what is kept in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6). In the Old Testament, Moses was alone when he encountered the burning bush.

He thought, “I will go and see this amazing sight, why the bush is not burning up.” (Exodus 3:3). In due course he encountered God and received his mission. Almost each of the prophets such as Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos got revelations while they were alone. Paul Tullich, who is highly ranked among the most influential theologians of the twentieth century, says “Language has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone; and it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” In one of his sermons, Tullich further says, “Man is alone because he is man! In some way every creature is alone…. Each tree grows according to its own law, fulfilling its unique possibilities.

Animals live, fight and die for themselves alone…. Being alive means being…. separated from all other bodies. And being separated means being alone.”