For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground… Isaiah 44:3
Ever have days or weeks when you feel you’re living in a spiritual desert? Are you tempted to think you might be out of God’s will or you might have in some way displeased God? (The operative word here is “tempted.”) When the tempter can’t move us into actual sin, I think he tempts us with thinking that dryness is equated to a lack of spiritual fervor or loss of commitment. Let’s unmask that evil one with truth.
Following the Greatest Generation, that marvelous population characterized by self-sacrifice, traditional values, and hard work, we moved into the Me era (so named by Thomas Wolfe) and got stuck in hedonism, narcissism, and personal sensibilities—essentially, feelings. Everything was measured by how we feel. And that leaked into the spiritual world. We began to think that feeling God was necessary to spiritual health; that feeling righteous was the gauge for holiness; that feeling happy was the direct indicator of spiritual maturity. Feelings left faith far behind, and feelings left fact behind.
So today when we have dark nights (or months) of the soul, we become discouraged rather than realizing that even the saints in Scripture (see Moses, Gideon, Job, Elijah, Peter) went through physical and emotional struggles. We have the same remedies they had in their darkest hours: trust, declare, and praise. Trust God’s faithfulness: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22, 23). Declare our trust: “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” (Job 13:15). Disregarding circumstances, praise him: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17, 18).
Our faith is not based on feelings, which are notoriously fickle. They change with a good meal or a phone call or new purchase. During dry times, we trust our faithful Father, reminding ourselves of his unfailing words to us. We quiet ourselves before him and give ourselves to praise. We are quick to thank God when we experience pleasant circumstances. Why not praise in reversals or in the desert?
God WILL make himself known in his time, and we will grow as we trust and praise. “The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places” (Habakkuk 3:19).
Trust, declare, praise. The rain is coming.
Father, there’s nothing about droughts that we like, but we need them from time to time to strengthen us and to cause us to trust, declaring your faithfulness, and praising your name. Don’t spare us because of our whining. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.