Theology Thursday: God in My Solitude

Hiker admiring the Cuernos del Paine range, Patagonia - stock photo

In C. S. Lewis’s novel, Out of the Silent Planet, one of his characters tells of how he once climbed alone to the top of a very high waterfall. There, in a place both ancient and sublime, he enjoyed the presence of God in the majestic solitude of his surroundings. This experience, he claimed, had added a depth and dimension to his being that he would never have known without it.1

Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience of being alone with God in a majestic and solitary place. Maybe you’ve gone hiking underneath a cold, overcast sky, with a rugged landscape of snow-covered mountains just ahead, and the sound of a violent, rushing river just behind. Or maybe you’ve gone walking alone in a dense forest, with wet leaves and pinecones strewn all around the narrow trail and towering trees overhead that blocked out much (but not all) of the sunlight — and (except for your own footsteps) almost utter silence all around you.

For many of us, such solitary experiences can nourish the soul just as a cup of cold water can nourish a thirsty body. To be alone with God in the beauty of the natural world is (for me) one of the great pleasures of life. Of course, I can also enjoy God while engrossed in a great book (or work of art, piece of music, etc.), pausing periodically to reflect, meditate and worship God for all the wonderful things I am experiencing. While some may not regard all such experiences as “pure” or “uncorrupted” solitude, we need not go into that here.

In This Article:

What Does Solitude Mean for a Christian?

You may be wondering, What does solitude mean for a Christian? or What is it about solitude that is so necessary and refreshing for our spirits? Part of it is doubtless because we are completely free to be ourselves. We don’t have to act, put on airs, wear a fake, idiotic smile plastered on our face, or pretend to be someone we are not. Instead, we can relax, enjoy our environment and most importantly, enjoy and worship God. Indeed, studies have been done which indicate that solitude, when self-chosen and not imposed by some external agent or circumstance, helps to relieve stress, and provides opportunities to enjoy one’s surroundings that are not typically available when in the company of others.2

Of course, some might object that, as Christians, we are called to community rather than a life of solitude. This is an important point, so let me clarify that I am not arguing for a life of complete solitude, but rather for temporary periods of solitude that provide an opportunity for refreshment, rejuvenation and reconnection with oneself and God. Just as we typically set aside time each day to eat and sleep, we should also set aside some daily time for solitude.

For this reason, I want to reflect on the value of solitude from a Christian worldview perspective. I will argue that, at least for most of us, some amount of solitude is necessary for an emotionally, psychologically and spiritually healthy life. Of course, the amount of solitude an individual requires/desires will vary according to that individual’s personality and temperament. Some people require more solitude, and others require less. However, if we never spend time alone with God, then we’re probably not as wise, perceptive and spiritually healthy as we could be if we incorporated some much needed solitude into the daily rhythm of our lives.

The Fears and Joys of Solitude

This raises an important issue: Some people — whether they admit it or not — are deeply afraid and uncomfortable with the thought of being alone with God. And indeed, for a fallen man or woman to stand utterly naked and completely known before God (apart from the redemptive work of Christ) is a truly terrifying prospect! But for those in Christ, the situation is radically different. We are encouraged to confidently “draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Heb. 4:16, ESV). We are loved, accepted and forgiven in Christ. For this reason, being completely alone with God (particularly while appreciating the beauty of the natural world that he has created) offers a unique opportunity to commune with, worship and even enjoy our great Creator, Savior and Redeemer!

Solitude gives us an opportunity to commune with both God and self. It provides time for us to contemplate both who we are and what we think, as well as time to meditate upon who God is, what he has done, is now doing, and will one day do. Solitude, in other words, provides an opportunity for us to remember, notice, enjoy and anticipate our place in God’s great story.


Solitude provides an opportunity to remember who we are, who God is and what God has done on our behalf. Repeatedly in the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord calls upon his people to remember that they were once slaves in the land of Egypt, but that he delivered them, redeemed them and brought them “out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,” (Deut. 5:15; see also Deut. 15:15, 16:12, 24:18, 22). In a similar way, Paul encourages the believers in Ephesus to remember that though they were once separated from Christ, they have now “been brought near by the blood of Christ,” (Eph. 2:12-13). If we are “in Christ,” solitude offers an excellent opportunity to remember that God loves us, has redeemed us and is conforming us to the image of his son (Rom. 8:29).


Solitude also provides an occasion for us to notice how we are doing spiritually, as well as how God might be presently working in our lives. What role has God called you to play in his unfolding story of redemption and restoration? How well are you fulfilling this role? Paul reminds believers that, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ,” (Col. 3:23-24). Are you working “heartily” at what God has called you to do? Solitude provides a great opportunity for us to honestly evaluate ourselves before God, take note of how we are doing and how — with God’s help — we might improve.


As I have previously argued, solitude — especially when experienced out in the beauty of the natural world — provides a wonderful opportunity to enjoy God as we admire, appreciate and reflect upon his work in creation. Indeed, when we rightly enjoy and delight in what God has made, our hearts are inclined to worship and adore him for the wisdom, power, beauty and goodness which he has revealed of himself in the natural world. King David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork,” (Ps. 19:1). And in another place we are told to “give thanks to the Lord,” who by his “understanding made the heavens” and “spread out the earth above the waters,” (Ps. 136:1, 5-6). Getting alone with God in the majestic beauty of his creation provides a unique opportunity to relax and rest, as well as to enjoy and worship him.


Finally, solitude provides an occasion to anticipate what God has planned for our future. And for the Christian, the prospects are bright indeed! We are promised “a new heaven and a new earth,” (Rev. 21:1). An exceedingly great city, the “new Jerusalem,” is said to come “down out of heaven from God,” (Rev. 21:2). We are told that “the dwelling place of God” will now be with humanity on the new earth, and that God will dwell with his people (Rev. 21:3). God will “wipe away every tear” from his people’s eyes, “and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” (Rev. 21:4). In that day, the chief business of life will be rejoicing in the Lord, worshiping him, enjoying him and our fellow-believers and reigning “forever and ever,” (Rev. 22:5). To be sure, these are staggering promises. But they are all guaranteed by “the faithful God,” (Deut. 7:9) who does not lie (Heb. 6:18). Solitude provides an excellent opportunity to meditate upon such promises and anticipate the good things God has planned for his children.

If you’ve been feeling stressed out, frazzled or disconnected from both yourself and God recently, then I would encourage you to make some time for solitude. Get alone with God for a while, preferably out in the beauty of the natural world. Take some time to remember who you are and who God is, notice how he is working in your life, enjoy him and all that he has made and anticipate the wonderful things he has planned for you. Incorporating periods of solitude into the daily rhythm of our lives can help provide an inner stillness, along with greater depth, wholeness and shalom in the presence of God that we all so desperately need.

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1 Lewis, C. S. (1965). Out of the Silent Planet. Macmillan.

2 University of Reading. (2023, Dec. 5). Alone but Not Lonely: How Solitude Boosts Well Being. Retrieved on March 21, 2024. 

Approved by faculty for the College of Theology on April 9, 2024

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.