And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.—Psalm 55:6
Come on, admit it–that’s exactly how you have felt at some point in time. You just want to get away from it all–be left alone, escape to an island far away. But as appealing as that sounds there is great danger in it. So before you take off for parts unknown you better consider the consequences.I just read an interesting article by Jay Adams, entitled,”How About an Island in Scotland?”. He started by saying:
Did you ever get to the place where you said, “I guess I just don’t belong anywhere! I don’t agree with this, I don’t believe in that. Either I’m a downright misfit or a very difficult person to please!” Well, I am happy to tell you you’re not the only one who says such things. I’ve found myself uttering such statements from time to time, and I’ve heard others (even people who seem most easy to get along with) say the same as well. I guess we all reach that point at some time or other if we have any convictions at all.
What can you do about it? Recognize that there are others who have not bowed the knee to Baal. And then go on. You must stand for matters of principle and compromise only on matters of expediency. You must fellowship with all genuine Christians, but you cannot assent to their errors or cooperate in enterprises that you believe to be unbiblical. You must learn to walk the razor’s edge that keeps you from becoming sectarian while firmly maintaining your stance. That’s not easy, and it takes effort and skill to do it well.
One of the saddest books I have ever read is the biography of A. W. Pink who, it seems, withdrew more and more from the fellowship of others and eventually ended his life on an isolated island in Scotland, where he fellowshipped only with his wife and by mail with a few other devoted followers in various parts of the world. His story exhibits the ultimate degree of the problem. Read Pink’s biography. While you’ll grieve, it probably will do you good, serving as a warning to keep you from drifting too far down the road to isolation.
Then he added
The tendency about which I am writing is a kind of monasticism. I guess that there is a bit of the monk in all of us. You begin to see it when you reach that point where you just want to turn your back on it all and walk off the edge of civilization.
Well, perhaps you don’t have any idea about what I’m talking. You’ve never experienced the phenomenon. So much the better for you—I guess. But can one who has many convictions about many things have never felt himself out of kilter not only with the world but also with the church? I doubt it. So I‘m not sure that it is “so much the better for you.”
At any rate, we look forward to the time when our great God shall make all things new. It will be a time when “we all attain to the unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:13). That is our hope. And in the light of present confusion, error and problems of almost every description, it is a wonderful hope that should sustain us. Indeed, those present problems should make us appreciate God’s promise all the more. Take heart! We’re all in this together—with Christ. He knows us and all our errors and problems and He still puts up with us (even with you and me) and fellowships with us. Thank God He hasn’t gone off to an island in Scotland!
Dear friends, I believe there is a lesson here for all of us. I’ve been there done that, but thankfully recovered quickly–however, I remain always in danger. You could say we are all always on “the razor’s edge”. And we are liable to go over the edge and isolate ourselves due to several things—the trauma of a personal fall, the embarrassment of a wayward child, conflict with enemies, disappointment with friends, pressure of duties, etc. So, we must ever be on guard against this terrible possibility. We all have time when we want to be alone, which is fine in moderation, but remember this–sometimes the thing we need most is the thing we want least. It’s still true that it’s not good for man to be alone. We need one another and none of has the right to be so selfish as shut others out of our life. You need to think about that the next time you are tempted to drop out of church, curl up in a corner, and wallow in self pity. That just makes things worse. Get up, get out, get going, do something for someone else–make yourself useful. That will make things better. It might not change your circumstances, but it will change you! Think about it!