And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.
- Luke 1:80
Just before this passage we read about Zechariah spending 9 months in silence, being unable to speak. By the words of this prayer (Luke 1:66-79) you can tell that Zechariah made the most of his time in quiet - he really heard from the Lord.
Just after his big prayer, the above verse shows up, letting us know that John the Baptist was well acquainted with solitude. He spent a lot of time out in the wilderness, by himself. And soon enough we’ll be reading of his exploits - and all the ways he got close to God while he was alone.
Research has shown that the average person touches their cell phone 2,617 times per day. The average adult in the US watches 5 hours and 4 minutes of TV a day. And that’s not to mention the time we spend on computers or listening to music. None of this technology is inherently bad. But it is loud - it demands our attention, invades our solitude, and breaks our silence.
What would it look like for you to find a bit more solitude and silence in your daily routine? Is there a way you could plan for that each day this week? Ponder that and make a plan as you think about this insight:
We have to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gently healing presence of our Lord.
- Henri Nouwen