Read 1 Peter 5:8
In yesterday’s letter, I wrote about the good side of your coin – the heads side – spending time alone with Jesus. Today I’m writing you about the dark side of your coin – those times when I approach you, Solitude, as if I was entirely alone with no one to hear my thoughts. Tails! Solitude, on this side, you are bad.
The words of a song by Paul Simon came to mind as I pondered writing this letter to you.
Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence
Acting as if I am spiritually alone always ends in destruction. On this dark side of you, Solitude, the Evil One comes masquerading like an old friend. When I “talk with darkness,” his lies are veiled as a lovely vision. A vision that softly creeps up on me in ways so insidiously believable it leaves seeds of deception, where I am most likely to be misled. Next, when I’m “asleep at the wheel”, those seeds sprout and bloom into more visions in my brain. Then slowly, quietly and steadily, I am overtaken. Unless, that is, I recognize these deceptions by holding the visions up to what I see in the truths of the Scriptures.
The other part I’ve learned of your bad side, Solitude, is that I am most vulnerable when I am not in community with other Christ followers. Why do I say that? Because 1 Peter 5:8 tells me that the Enemy is a prowling lion: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” I don’t watch a lot of Animal Planet, but this much I’ve seen: predators look for those animals away from the protection of the herd. A little sheep is having a good time wandering by itself, munching on some tasty grass. The next instant, a lion springs out of nowhere and that poor little lamb is now dinner. That lamb gets devoured, much like I can be, if I wander from the protection of the Body of Christ. When I believe the lie that I can live successfully in spiritual isolation, it gets ugly.
What have I learned about your bad side, Solitude? I must always be wary of any feeling that I am altogether alone; wary of any voice that would whisper to me in the “darkness.” And lastly, I am most protected when I stay close to The Good Shepherd and the rest of the Flock. That’s one of the reasons why we, at Grace, say “Life is Better Together!”