Echoes From the Campfire

Might not such love of horses and the open range, solitude, freedom, the hard fare and toil, the kinship with nature—might not these develop character to noble ends?”
              –Zane Grey  (Nevada)

    “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”
              –Isaiah 35:1 (NKJV)
I’ve seen a few studies over the past decade that show what people think about church.  The thing that comes out on top in the recent years is the idea of fellowship.  Think of that for a moment–the number one reason for the church is fellowship.  I read a few weeks back where Millennials think that the church should not try to evangelize.  Hmmm, seems to me that was the Great Commission.  These same people say it’s okay if the person doesn’t already belong to some recognized religion:  Islam, Hindu, etc.
    Now, don’t get me wrong.  Fellowship is important.  But have you listened to many of the prayers during fellowship groups?  More like a way to get the gossip out of your system.  Maybe putting it this way would be better–there is fellowship and there are social groups.  It is hard for me to fathom how people want to live in places like New York City.  I have wanted and waited most of my life to finally get out of the city and into the “wilderness.”  That’s where the jobs are, but that’s also where the people are.  I read yesterday that man is afraid of the sea, or the desert, or the mountains.  Because they tend to turn man to thinking.  Thinking about life, about God, and about self.  Man, overall, does not like to be alone, therefore, the fellowship.
    Jacob didn’t like to be alone.  George Matheson said this of Jacob, “He was afraid of Jacob’s angel; he feared to wrestle with his own conscience; he dreaded the spectre of the past; he shrank from the memory of his yesterday; he trembled to meet Esau.  And when he was forced to go into the wilderness, it was awful to him.”  It is fear that makes one dread to be alone.  Silly as it seems, people are afraid of the country and the darkness.  When we were building our house last year the man delivering the windows would not stay until we arrived to help him unload them.  He said, “there are wild animals out here.”  
    Man fears loneliness and solitude.  Why?  Because man starts to think about who he is.  He starts to look inside and dwell upon his character–the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of him.  There is no one around for him to chuckle and laugh off the thought with.  There is not the crowd and the noise; he is alone.  Possibly the greatest fear of the solitude is that man might find God; or rather, God might find him.  God does not seek us out with the crowd.  Oh, He might work and bless a group of worshipers, but He seeks the individual.  
    Don’t think that solitude is only in the desert or on the mountainside.  No, one can be vastly alone in their room at night, or on a sick-bed.  Alone, with their thoughts, and here comes God.  Man can even hide in a crowd.  He doesn’t care for the fellowship, but finds it is a place to hide.  Look at the many encounters with people that Jesus had in this manner.
    It was a custom for Jesus to go out to a solitary place to spend time with His Father.  In this solitude He found physical, mental, and spiritual strength.  And that last great time of solitude was with His disciples–Gethsemane.  Don’t be afraid of the solitude, no matter where you are and in what condition you find yourself, in fact, welcome the chance to get alone with the Lord.  “Thou hast blest me in my solitude.  I halted one day upon my thigh.  I could not run with the crowd; I could not keep up with the multitude.  I lagged behind; I missed my chance in the race; I was left alone.  I was sad; I was sore at heart; I murmured.  But I was wrong.  That hour of loneliness has been my most crowded hour.  It has been crowded with Thy blessings; it has been loaded with Thy benefits…” (Matheson)  Let God “crowd” you with His love.   
This day in the Texas Revolution (through the first part of April):  Santa Anna departs San Antonio de Bexar and leaves General Andrade in command with a 1000 troops.