The Kingdom in Solitude

Right now, more of us are spending time away from the outside world in the safety of our homes. For those of you that aren’t and are helping bring order to the chaos, thank you. You’re noticed and deeply appreciated.
For the rest of us in our homes, it can be boring and even lonely. It’s not easy to be able to go out anytime you want without second thought to feeling as if you’re cut off – and suddenly needing to meet new demands (shout out to the new home school parents! You’ll get through this!)
If we’re being honest, most of us have no idea how to be alone. In fact, we struggle so much with the concept that we have created technology that keeps us connected to others and information at all times. If it’s not social media, it’s TV. It’s video games. It’s anything that distracts us from the feeling that we’re afraid to face.
Learning how to be alone is one of the most valuable, crucial things we can learn.
Messiah spent a great deal of his time withdrawn from others and creating an intimate relationship with Abba. There’s a great quote I love to overuse, “Intimacy. In to me, see.”
We can’t fully see the amazing Creator of the universe if we’re allowing distractions in. We can’t fully experience what it means to let Him see us if we’re not in a place to embrace the situation we’re in. Sometimes we don’t even know that we’re in pain or what we’re in pain from because we’ve gotten so good at focusing on distraction.
Scripture shows us that we should seek prayer in all circumstances. When we’re heartbroken, full of shame, fearful, angry at Him, doubtful and especially when we’re joyful, thankful, filled with the Spirit.
The way we can truly encompass these aspects of joy and praise in His spirit is by seeking Him in our brokenness.
Trials in relationships strengthen them when the parties are able to come together in them, be honest, and seek to improve. It makes the bonds richer. It makes the goodness in them sweeter. It makes us appreciate what we’ve built and worked so hard for.
We can’t get there without being fully present with Him, though.
He wants us to seek Him and build a personal relationship. When we are able to meet Him in those moments of solitude, we become centered in His healing presence and wise guidance. We’re able to be restored. These things aren’t just for the Sabbath, though that is the number one time we should be building this intimacy. We need Him every day, every hour.
Then when we’re able to center ourselves in that love, peace, wisdom – we can bring that renewal into the world through our actions. This is how we can continually bring order within ourselves to then extend to the world. This pattern is shown over and over through Messiah’s story, and it was important enough that it was documented a LOT.
So while we’re able to practice the art of being alone, let’s learn how to pray.
Let’s learn how to turn away from the noise.
Let’s learn how to be still.
Let’s learn how to quiet our minds.
Let’s learn how to be honest with ourselves.
Let’s learn how to bring that honest before Him.
Let’s learn how to embrace His presence.
Let’s learn how to hear what He’s telling us.
Let’s learn how to walk out the wisdom that love and healing brings us.
Let’s learn how to spread these things to others.
Let’s learn how to be the Kingdom.
Jesus’ Solitude and Silence – Soul Shepherding
Here is a chronological survey of Bible verses from Mark that highlight Jesus’ solitude and silence. (I’ve added a few verses from the other Gospels. All verses are NIV84 unless indicated otherwise.)
“At once the Spirit sent [Jesus] out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” (Mark 1:12)
“Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee… ‘Come, follow me,’ he said.” (Mark 1:16)
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35) [Everyone was looking for Jesus, but after his time in prayer he told his disciples that it was time for them to move on to another village.]
“[Despite Jesus’ plea that his miracles be kept secret] the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16; see also Mark 1:45)
“Once again Jesus went out beside the lake.” (Mark 2:13)
“One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain-fields, and his disciples walked along.” (Mark 2:23)
“Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed.” (Mark 3:7)
“Jesus went out to a mountain side to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him.” (Luke 6:12-13. See also Mark 3:13)
“Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables.” (Matthew 13:1-3. See also Mark 4;1.)
“When Jesus heard [that John the Baptist had been beheaded], he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” (Matthew 14:13)
“Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to [his disciples], ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” (Mark 6:31-32)
“After [Jesus] had dismissed [the crowds], he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was [still] there alone.” (Matthew 14:23; see also Mark 6:46)
“[Jesus] entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.” (Mark 7:24)
“Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say I am?’” (Luke 9:18. See also Mark 8:27)
“Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there.” (Matthew 15:29, ESV)
“Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.” (Mark 9:2)
“After his brothers had gone up to the feast, then [Jesus] also went up, not publicly but in private.” (John 7:10, ESV). [Jesus walked 90 miles from Galilee to Jerusalem, which gave him about five days in solitude.]
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’” (Luke 11:1)
“Again [the religious leaders in Jerusalem] sought to arrest [Jesus], but he escaped from their hands. He went away again [walking about five miles] across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him.” (John 10:39-41, ESV)
“They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid.” (Mark 10:32.) [Apparently Jesus kept silent for most of the 22-mile hike. Luke says Jesus was “resolute” (9:51). He told them that he’d be tortured and killed in Jerusalem.]
“When [Jesus and his disciples] had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Mark 14:26). This was Jesus’ “usual place” to pray when he was in Jerusalem. (Luke 22:39)
“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’” (Mark 14:32)
“They crucified [Jesus]… Darkness came over the whole land… Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’” (Mark 15:25, 33; Luke 23:46)