My wife, Carly, and I went on a trip last summer to hit most of the National Parks in Utah. We were in a deep need to retreat from the business of life. For the most part, the parks were very busy.
As you enter Zion National Park, you are immediately winding through roads for about 3 miles until you hit a road called Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. You need to hit this turn off about 4:00am if you want a decent parking spot near the best trailheads. There was one less popular hike that I remember taking called Emerald Pools.
Emerald Pools was short and not super strenuous. There is a lower, middle, and upper pool with water flowing down to the North Fork Virgin River. When you reach the upper pool, you are surrounded by cliffs and beautiful scenery. If you are lucky, you’ll see wildlife as well. When we arrived at the upper pool, we were able to experience a deer walking peacefully on the steep hillside.
I experienced God in a new way that trip. In the silence away from human interaction and the business of life, I was able to be renewed by taking in God’s creation. There is much to be learned from being in solitude to focus on God’s voice. Spiritual disciplines like this keep us in the presence of God.
1 Kings 19:11-12 says, “The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
When we intentionally set aside time to be alone in silence, we can tune out the “winds, earthquakes, and fires” of our life to hear the gentle whisper of God. It is important to find a time and place to quiet yourself before the Lord. It is important to protect that time. A pastor I know once said, “The habit of bowing in the quiet place prepares you for standing in the difficult place.”
I challenge you to intentionally practice the discipline of solitude. Find a time this week to bow in the quiet and be renewed to do the work to which God has called you.