Solitude and Solace

spring on monhegan

The place is Monhegan Island, Maine

   Even the extroverts among us need solitude (even in a pandemic) — a time and place free for uninterrupted thought and meditation, for processing life, for resting weary minds and reviving waning spirits, and for re-energizing tired bodies. Calmness and refreshment may be found behind a door which shuts out our universe for a few minutes, or in a comfortable chair, or on a familiar walk along the beach or in the woods, or doing a hobby, or spending just a few hours at camp.

   Although mental relief is essential, it isn’t enough when we need soul comfort. In those moments, we can easily relate to the overwhelmed Psalmist who cried: “…Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness…I would hasten my escape from the windy and tempest.” (Psalm 55:6-8)

   The reality is that some things are inescapable! Solitude is insufficient to quell inner “tempests”, to alleviate pain, or to provide answers to difficult situations. The Psalmist discovered that God’s presence provided a deep-down solace found in no other place: You are my hiding-place; You will preserve me from trouble; You will compass me about with songs of deliverance… (Psalm 32:7)

   This great thought of deliverance is beautifully echoed in Christ’s offer to everybody: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

   That offer from God is not made from a distance! The Book of Revelation presents us with an intimate image of Christ standing at our heart’s door, knocking, asking to come in and to have personal fellowship with us. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Meet Chris Mace

Christopher Mace graduated from Bowdoin College and Tufts University School of Medicine.  Served as a Navy Doctor in Vietnam and has practiced medicine in Downeast Maine since 1970.  He is now an Elder at United Baptist Church in Ellsworth Maine.  Chris is the author of two books, Listening to God and Dancing with God.  You can read more from Chris here:  He is married and has four children and three grand children. 

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