It has been a little disturbing to read in Bridges to Contemplative Living about “God’s absence” that sometimes happens in our lives.
I have heard of other Christians who talk about God’s absence and how they felt He had left them, but I have never experienced that in my life. On the flip side, Henri Nouwen offers some great insight into loneliness and how we should be able to respond to it with solitude.
As a naturally inverted person I love solitude! Give me a pen, paper, and my Bible and I am a happy man! Then talking about battling the loneliness feelings Nouwen encourages us in his book, Reaching Out saying, “Instead of running away from our loneliness and trying to forget or deny it, we have to protect it and turn it into a fruitful solitude. To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude” (p. 34).
This “garden of solitude” is where I get to daily meet with God and spend time with Him. It is a daily time where I praise Him, thank Him, and share my heart with Him. Little by little, day after day, my efforts help to turn that garden of solitude into a time and place where God comforts me from my loneliness.