Season of Solitude
By Chaplain (MAJ) Tracy Kerr
Have you ever looked around
the room and thought, “Lord,
following you takes me to some
of the strangest places”? This morning,
I find myself at my computer deep in the Middle East. My sinuses are on fire as my body acclimates to the dust bowl
I now call home. Many of the comforts of home have been left thousands of miles away, and I am a year out from kissing the cook.
Still, there is something beautiful about these seasons in life that are hard to explain. Perhaps you find yourself in the same kind of place. The “normal” routines that fill our days and the rhythms that move us from one task to another have been replaced with familiar but strange sights, smells, and sounds. I catch myself mumbling, “Here we go again.”
Though this new season will bring challenges, I know it is exactly where God has called me for this time in my life. As I looked around the hanger just prior to deployment, I saw the uncertainty and fear on the solemn faces of troops and their family members. During this moment, and others like it, the Spirit reminds me of the importance of God’s calling.
I’ve always imagined the disciples toiling through the troubled waters in Mark 4, thinking their lives could not be more off course, or that perhaps they had misunderstood the directions from “command.” The fact that Jesus asked them to get into the boat and (literally) pushed them out to sea should make things easier for us to understand. But it doesn’t. The truth is troubled waters are often the result of God’s call upon our lives.
If this is where you are, relax. You’re in good company. Scripture is replete with examples of followers led into these seasons. David, Moses, Joseph, Paul, and even our Lord Himself were isolated from the normal routine of life to be prepared for God’s particular call. David was called away from his flocks to be anointed king of Israel. Joseph experienced dreams so vivid he simply had to share them. These young souls were at the outset of their spiritual experiences. In spite of their spiritual encounters and God-given enthusiasm, they were years from reaching their God-appointed stations in life. No one expects to read about David running for his life while King Saul hunted him like some wild prey. Nor did anyone expect to see Joseph, the favorite son, cast down, sold, imprisoned, and forgotten. Joseph and David stand as two of Scripture’s greatest examples of real men with real problems in a real world. They lived through extreme seasons of danger and isolation because God was training them for the extreme moments they would face in the future when David served as second king of Israel and Joseph became the vizier, the agricultural director of the Egyptian empire.
To what mundane yet faithful task has God called you? Are you accomplishing that task? David demonstrates this truth vividly. God describes him as “a man after God’s own heart.” This is an amazing commendation. As we look into Scripture, we find David faithfully accomplishing his tasks long after the banquet is cleared and the prophet is gone. He is called to take food to his brothers on the battlefield as they confront the Philistines in battle. He is called to King Saul’s chambers to play music to soothe Saul’s troubled spirit. What is so amazing about David is that each time he is found in the same place, doing the same thing—tending his father’s sheep. Remember, David would be the next king. Yet, for the moment, as the youngest of his father’s household, he was happy to accept his role as the house shepherd. He served faithfully in isolation, learning to protect, serve, and lead the weak sheep of his father’s pasture. He had no entourage, applause, or gallery of visitors—just sheep, wilderness, and the close presence of God.
Today, I gaze across a horizon filled with dust so thick I cannot even see the nearby mountains. There is no large fellowship of believers or mass choir singing praise to God. What I do see are opportunities—opportunities to share life with soldiers and provide them with an
example of what following Christ looks like in the season of war. I have hopeful expectation that God will use this season to set my priorities, focus my efforts, and turn my heart toward Heaven as I protect the sacred things He has placed in my life.
I serve at His good pleasure. Life will be different, but I look forward to finding the faith of my Father along the journey, knowing I am isolated but never alone.
About the Writer: Chaplain (MAJ) Tracy Kerr is currently deployed to Afghanistan. He and his wife Ginger have three children: Sarah, Grace, and Jonathan. His current home base
is Hunter Army Air Field in Savannah, Georgia. Learn more about Free Will Baptist chaplain ministry: www.fwbnam.com.