- April 21, 2016
- Lori Travers
Note: A guest post by Lori Travers.
Just the word alone brings a picture of “I SO LAY DOWN FEELING SHUNNED”.
Ok, that might be a bit of a stretch, but for those of us who are hopeless extroverts, isolation may feel like a death sentence. Where is everyone??
Going through an ongoing health issue is tiring even for those loved ones around you. They don’t know what to say anymore. There’s nothing they can do to help, so they sort of slip away out of sight. That’s when isolation’s walls press in.
My enjoyment of people can easily supersede my enjoyment of God. People can affirm me, hug me, and reassure me with words that are audible to my limited human ears. But GOD, in His “still small voice” (you know, the one you are straining to hear when a crisis hits?) uses these isolating times to call us to Himself. My human reaction to this desolation is picking up the phone to call a trusted friend, running to the computer to see if there are any “likes”, flopping on the couch aimlessly scrolling through stations of hollowness, or irritating my husband with whines of self-pity. But our God calls us to a place of ultimate gratification, even for the incurable extrovert.
It takes some getting used to—the being “alone with the Alone” as Brennan Manning would convey. If you can push aside the instant gratification expectation, what you will find is a Friend…a Brother…a Father…a Husband. Yes, a reassurance that you were never really alone. Being insulated by His love will overshadow any effects isolation. Elijah, for sure, got a glimpse of the importance of quieting himself following the wind, the quake, and the fire:
“And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” 1 Kings 19:13b
You see, the isolation is not meant to be forever. Getting quiet with our God creates a space of learning in places where other humans can have no effect. That place is God’s, and God’s alone. We’re all bombarded with the same noisy mess. Learning to be unafraid of quiet takes some getting used to. I’m learning it lately. Not necessarily by my own choice…and sometimes feeling dragged into the quiet, with my soul kicking and screaming…yet He still meets me there. And after the Voice is heard in my heart, He opens the door to my cave of isolation and lets me mingle again.
Sometimes I envy the “introvert” types. They seem so very introspective and wise, deeply contented to be on their own. But I was born with a soul that begs for community and without it I feel miserably deserted. Only communion with my Father, my Jesus, and His Spirit can override this valley of a seemingly unattended soul. As the God of Israel told His beloved people in the book of Isaiah, chapter 30, ““In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”
May that also be said of me…and you.