April 10
From Holy Ground
For reading & meditation: Psalms 27
"One thing I ask of the Lord ' that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life '" (v.4)

We said yesterday it is in times of deepest loneliness, when there is no one there but God, that we learn to know Him most fully. Not long after my conversion in my mid-teens, a preacher I greatly admired came to stay in our home. I had the opportunity to sit with him for many hours asking him some of the spiritual questions which, up until then, had greatly perplexed me. During one period of discussion I said to him: "Tell me, what is the secret of your great and powerful ministry?" It was quite a while before he answered, and as I waited I pondered what his answer might be. Would he say, "It is the way I use words", or "My skill at chiselling attractive and appealing phrases", or perhaps, "My insight and understanding of the Scriptures"? It was none of these. He said quite simply: "If there is any power in my ministry, it has come out of walking with God through the valley of loneliness." I cannot remember in the whole of my life ever hearing a more compelling and moving statement than that. It introduced me to a truth that I myself had to learn - that the route to knowing God often passes through the valley of profound loneliness. The depth of character that is developed through loneliness is something that not only enriches the life of the individual concerned, but spills over into the lives of many others also. In periods of loneliness, the Master draws us into His presence so that later, when we speak to others, they sense we are speaking to them from holy ground.
O God, help me to commit my will to Your will, not to be borne but to be done. If knowing You - really knowing You - means walking through the valley of loneliness, then lead on, dear Lord - I will follow. Amen.
For further study:
1. What did Elijah wrongly believe in his loneliness?
2. How did God use his loneliness?