If you walked the path alongside our house from the driveway, you’d find a patch of dried up wildflowers. Continuing around the corner and past the blue chair on the patio, you’d notice more dead plants in pots as well as a much bigger patch of dried up, shriveled stalks that used to be zinnias. Ah, winter.
I thrive in the summer. Winter just isn’t where it’s at for me. But as I go on my morning walk, I do appreciate what the brown grass and leafless trees preach to me. It’s easy to feel discouraged at the sight of their dormancy. It’s what is unseen that brings me delight and hope. Underneath all that dryness is a life, ready to bloom—to be revived. And it will be revived, soon.
This ushers in hope because it’s a picture of the spiritual drought many Christians walk through. We fear the winter will never let up. Our hands crack and blister from the cold dry air as we clutch in our fists the truths we know of God. We’re holding out for spring. We believe it will come, Lord, help our unbelief. We look around and sometimes it feels like everyone else is experiencing a closeness with the Lord that we seem to lack. Have you felt this way?
You’re trying, you really are. You’ve been seeking him, but even after years of discipline, your heart isn’t warmed. You pray for a strong desire to study God’s word, but day after day still feels the same. Is something wrong with you? Is there some glaring sin in your life keeping you back from a deeper communion with the Lord? Maybe it’s because you lost your temper with your child last week? You repented, but maybe it wasn’t genuine enough. Was it because you had envy in your heart toward a friend recently? You asked for forgiveness, but maybe not fast enough.
These are the mind games many of us play when walking through the desert of spiritual drought and dryness. And truthfully, sometimes it is our sin which makes us feel distant from God. But there are a myriad of other causes for seasons of spiritual drought too.
– Spiritual weariness
– Physical exhaustion from life’s circumstances (new baby, difficult stage with a child)
– Experiencing spiritual abuse
– Brain fog from chronic illness or lack of sleep etc.
– Depression or anxiety
– Feeling generally overwhelmed by all of life’s demands
If you’re in a spiritually dry season, keep taking steps of faithfulness toward God. He promises they will bear fruit. But also, remember the gospel. Remember it’s not your feelings of closeness to God that saves you. Nor is it any amount of righteous living on your part, but only his. No amount of discipline saves you. The gospel teaches we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Jesus keeps us as we walk through these seasons of doubt and drought.
Spring will come, be it months or years from now. It will come. In the meantime, we continue to wrap our hands and hearts around what we know to be true about his character. Surely, his faithfulness will pull us through to the other side.