I committed my life to Christ at summer camp, but when the summer ended, reality hit. I figured things at home would be difficult, but I was not prepared for the great opposition I would face as a new convert. Walking the halls of my public high school, I was taunted, tempted, and cussed out. Shortly after, I read about a seventh-century monk named Brother Lawrence. In his book, Closer Than a Brother, he shared how his faith enabled him to endure the challenges of loneliness when Jesus’ presence became tangible.
“I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1
Spending time in the morning alone with God prepared me to imagine Jesus Christ walking by my side. Following Brother Lawrence’s example, I conversed with him as if he were right next to me, involved in my daily activities. (Yes, sometimes it seemed like I was talking to myself, but as the dialogue with Jesus increased throughout the day, my God-confidence and faith grew.) I was strengthened to grow through the challenges of a new beginning. Instead of stumbling over attitudes and opinions of others, I skipped gracefully down the halls of my campus in step with Jesus. I stood firm in my new-found faith because I didn’t walk alone.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Solo steps are taken in tandem with our Savior. The Bible has much to say about godly men and women who walked with God. They were not alone; they chose the discipline of solitude, practicing the presence of God. Noah, Moses, Abraham and even Jesus practiced the discipline of time alone with God. They broke away to spend alone time with God and practiced his presence.
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” John 15:7
Noah was a righteous man. God chose Noah to do an important job for him—be the one who would carry on life for generations to come. God talked to Noah when he was alone. In Genesis 6:13, “So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people . . . so make yourself an ark.’” Noah did God’s work after hearing instructions during the time he spent alone with God.
“This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:8
Moses, the great leader of the children of Israel, was encouraged by God in Exodus 24:12 to “come up to me on the mountain and stay. . . .” What an invitation! God wanted time alone with Moses. Moses obeyed God, was given the Ten Commandments, and later on in his ministry was known as “a friend of God.”
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:9
Abraham was chosen to be the father of nations. God called him to service during his night watch, using the starlit sky as an object lesson. God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 15:5, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—so shall your offspring be.” Abraham believed God would do what he said.
“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love; just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” John 15:10, 11
Dear friends, I am thankful for the lessons God has taught me during the times he allowed me to go through difficulties. He showed me I was not alone. As I invited Him into my circumstances, I realized those “solo steps” were His. He was carrying me in His arms. Won’t you let Him carry you? Let’s pray.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the lessons you’ve taught us during the times we’ve spent alone with you. Help us not to fear times of solo steps, Lord; let us welcome these opportunities to abide in you. Thank you, Lord, for not only walking with us, but also carrying us through. We adore you, thank you, praise you, love you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“But now this is what the Lord says—Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mind. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43: 1–3