When we reach deep within to seek God, or to find resources to cope with a trying set of stressful circumstances, our hands find only desert sand.
We can all face that puzzling sense of incongruity when what we understand to be God's Will for us, and what we are experiencing in our present circumstances, seem to be polar opposites.
For David, it made no sense that God could promise one thing, that he would be the King of Israel, and yet here he was hiding from King Saul, and fleeing for his life in the dry barren Desert of Judah. Weary and worn out, he prayed:
We can come to The Quiet Place to commune with God to satisfy our thirst and at times discover that our experience there has seemed unsatisfying, and we leave discovering that our throat is still parched and dry.
We can be inundated with Bible resources, solid teaching, and worshipful music, but find that we are merely treading water of late in terms of our experience and enjoyment of God. We can be up, we can feel down, we can feel joy and then we can drift into a kind of apathy.
The experience of revival, and times of spiritual renewal, are wonderful, joyous, and sometimes overflow with euphoric emotion. However, God also wants to know if we can walk by faith, and not by mere feelings.... Even in the backside of a personal desert.
The Lure of a Mirage in the Desert
If we are not careful, we can equate a kind of "feeling" to be the compass of our spirituality. To follow a compass that has no True North, is like following a GPS that is locked into coordinates that are constantly moving, shifting location, and leading to one dead-end after another. It is in the pursuit of the lure of a mirage, that leads to disappointment and despair(See Jeremiah 2:13).
David himself cried out to God while in the desert,
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long. “Where is your God?” Psalm 42:1-3
The Reasons for Spiritual Dryness
The experience of spiritual dryness happen to all of us at times, and there are several factors that may contribute:
- It may be the result of missing out on our times of worship in The Quiet Place.
- . Living too long on the milk of God’s Word and not getting into the meat and depth of Bible study, so as to discern how to deal with the tougher trials that may be happening.
- . It may be because of an illness, and the medications that sometimes blunt the physical and emotional edge in our lives.
- . Long seasons of depression and medications to treat it can mimic a sense of spiritual apathy.
- . It can be the result of resisting God’s Will to be Lord in our lives, and then avoiding time with Him.
- Engaging in sinfulness, and refusing to repent and change, dims the passion of our heart for God.
- . Feeling angry or hurt by God, believing that He should grant something, and withdrawing from Him as a result.
- . Prolonged periods of trial, suffering and intense ministry can result in spiritual burnout.
- . Being tested by God to live by the truth of His Word, and exercise faith, even when our feelings do not experience joy and peace when we are walking in fellowship with God.
- Going through a time of pruning in our life whereby God shapes our heart so that our abiding in Him can be fruitful and unhindered.
Spiritual Balance in the Desert
God's Word assures us that if we Draw near to Him, He will Draw near to us (See Hebrews 7:19-20; 24-26; James 4:8). Paul reminds us that the natural man does not discern Truth in the way that the spiritual man does. His use of the word, pneumatikos in I Cor. 2:15, for the word "...he that is spiritual.." is translated as: "..one who is governed by, or under the rule of the Spirit of God." Vines NT Greek.
In The Quiet Place there is an Honesty with God
"Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-9