Lamentations 3:22-28 “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him.’ The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord, and it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of His discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands…”
It all began with a trip planned months in advance… Neither of us knew the importance or significance of such a trip, or that it would be planned “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). It was a trip for just us girls, a trip to celebrate 20 years of friendship. God’s will is so grand, and His providence is so evident in the lives of His children because…
He used a trip that was selfish in nature to be one of the greatest learning experiences of my life thus far. We laughed. We bought items that we did not need. We spent entirely too much money on food, and we ate entirely too much as well. We hiked over two miles out of the way to one of our destinations (which Megan will never let me live down or let me forget), but that destination was the grandest of them all.
That two mile hike had the most beautiful views: leaves that had changed colors, bubbling brooks, wildlife scampering along the trails, a robin-egg blue sky without a cloud in sight, and a cool breeze that seemed to embrace us as we walked. More importantly, I felt the Holy Spirit as clearly as if I could see Him walking right beside us. Nature finally opened up so that we had a view of the chapel… my favorite place on earth. We looked around the chapel. We took pictures, but the feeling that I had when we were hiking was gone.
There was a crowd of people also looking. The solitude that I was seeking was not to be found. We picked the day to come when there was an organ concert about to begin. Now, that organ concert was beautiful. We sat near the lake and sang along for the better part of an hour, and that was some sweet fellowship. I sang with my best friend of 20 years, one who has been with me during every phase of life. We sang about the greatness of God, that Ole Rugged Cross, how softly and tenderly that Jesus calls us to Him, His amazing grace, how we can face the next day and the next because He lives, and much more without a pause or an interruption. One verse flowed beautifully into the next as our voices melted together in wonderful harmony. It might not have sounded very great (by that I mean me and not Meg), but I came to the realization that we were not done at the chapel that weekend.
Yes, we had an awesome time singing by the lake and fellowshipping with others who had come to the chapel that day… but what I realized that I needed more than anything was solitude with my Savior. I needed a reflective time where I blocked everything out but Him. I needed the distractions that were hindering me to disappear, but sadly, the laughter and the presence of those people were distractions. So, we left the chapel that day, and personally, I felt as if I had left that place with loose ends that still needed to be tied.
So, I asked Megan if we could return to the chapel the next day, during the time that our church services at home would be conducted. She agreed, but with one condition—that we drive. So, the next morning, we woke up early…packed our bags…checked out of the hotel…and off we drove to the chapel. The scene was similar as the day before. Nature opened up to the chapel ahead, and instantly, I knew that my prayers had been answered. The solitude that I was seeking was there before me.
As soon as I entered the chapel, even my best friend faded away. I knelt at the altar, and I opened up my quiet time with Him in prayer. I do not know how long I knelt on that cool, stone altar, and it did not matter. Again, I felt God’s presence as clearly as if I could physically see Him. Honestly, I felt as if I had been wrapped in the biggest, warmest hug by Him. I could almost hear Him say, “My child, I have waited so long for you to block out the distractions and seek solitude with me. I have waited so long for you to put me first in all of your decisions, but My child, I am just so glad that you are Mine. Do you know how much I love you?”
Isaiah 43:1 “But now, this is what the Lord says–He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.'”
I pulled my journal out of my bag, and my eyes were drawn to the word on the cover: LOVED. I thought back to the last time that I was at the chapel five years ago. At that time, I was not saved, but I do know this: my best friend prayed for me in that chapel. I know that those prayers came to fruition because a few months later, in November, I surrendered my life to Christ. It has been a long, bumpy road since that day in November. I have made more wrong choices and decisions than right ones, but never once has God stopped loving me. In Sunday School this morning, the comment was made by Mrs. Regina, “God does not move nor will He ever move. It is we that move, either closer or further from God.” Going on that weekend trip, spending time at the chapel was the solitude that I needed, the quiet time that showed me how distracted I had been.
And what I realized is that I can achieve the same kind of solitude in my daily life if only I make it a priority to do so. I can choose each day to move closer to Christ rather than further from Him. He does not move and will never move for He is the “same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). I am the one that changes. Thank you, Lord, for being constant, for being Someone that I can count on when the world is turning upside down.
For me, salvation was the product of my best friend seeking solitude with Jesus five years ago at that chapel (along with many others praying for me as well). I cannot wait to see the product of me seeking solitude five years later at the very same place, and I cannot wait to see what the product of me seeking solitude with Jesus every day of my life will have.
Lord, I do not know where You are leading me, but I will go. I want the feelings that I experienced at the chapel to happen every day as I meet with You. I want to feel overwhelming peace, like a balm being spread on the wounds of my heart and soul, every day as I meet with You. I want our quiet time to feel as if nature is finally opening up, and I see my home in the distance after an extended absence. I want to always remember that, despite my insignificance, the Savior of the world and the God of the universe cares about my problems, my heartache, and my pain.
The same Jesus who created the world from nothing had me on His mind when He was dying on the cross. Why would I dare to think that He would forget me now?