And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. --Matthew 14:23
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wisely pointed out in his classic Life Together that for people to know how to get along well with others, they need to know how to be alone. (He also said that the opposite is true). But I focus on first part, knowing how, yes, enjoying being alone with God. A. W. Tozer highlights this deep need in light of now nearly archaic gadgetry of the early 60's in such a way as to leave us sighing at the prospect of his knowledge of today's electronic idols.
Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. It wears us out by multiplying distractions and beats us down by destroying our solitude, where otherwise we might drink and renew our strength before going out to face the world again."The thoughtful soul to solitude retires," said the poet of other and quieter times; but where is the solitude to which we can retire today? Science, which has provided men with certain material comforts, has robbed them of their souls by surrounding them with a world hostile to their existence. "Commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still" is a wise and healing counsel, but how can it be followed in this day of the newspaper, the telephone, the radio and the television? These modern playthings, like pet tiger cubs, have grown so large and dangerous that they threaten to devour us all. What was intended to be a blessing has become a positive curse. No spot is now safe from the world's intrusion. (Of God and Men, 125)
"Intrusion." Indeed! The advent of smartphones, iPods, iPads, ebook readers, and a myriad computers only underscore the urgent need today for each of us to halt the unending onslaught of information so that we might actually learn something in the stillness. Where is such silence to be found is the question of the hour. Even while on sabbatical for a month, I am writing this on my iMac. Blessings are these contraptions. Yet, they like all good things must be conquered and not allowed to rule our lives. Be still in order to know that God is God (Ps. 46:10).
Ah-h-h, relief. Stillness. Quiet. Tranquility.
Speak, Lord, in the stillness,
While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen,
Speak, O blessed Master,
In this quiet hour;
Let me see Thy face, Lord,
Feel Thy touch of Power.