In over 30 years of ministry and mission, covering a variety of groups and settings across the globe, there’s been times when I’ve felt dry and far away from the warm presence of God. During these times, when I’m running close on empty, in one or a combination of all three of my, spiritually, emotionally and physically well-being tanks, I’ve found that I don’t have any great yearning to read the Word of God and even little or no compulsion to pray.
During these times, I know my faith is intact and my love for Jesus is strong, and I have no desire to taste the things that the world has to offer, it’s just that I can’t seem to touch God like I usually do. Sometimes this can go for a few days even a week or two, on several occasions for a whole month.
Have you ever watched other Christians get blessed while you feel nothing? I have!
Once I was in Canada attending a revival meeting, a place that had become a real well of renewal and blessings to the nations. I was there with some of my Aussie friends seeking to not only see God in action, the reports filtering to us ‘down-under’ in Australia of the miracles taking place had become an international talking point. We also wanted to absorb the spirit of this revival in our personal lives. On one of the four nights that I attended these meetings, I found myself responding to the message and finally standing in one of three prayer lines at the front of the auditorium. As the visiting Canadian evangelist prayed for people, things where happening out the front, all around me people were dropping like ‘ninepins’ – but not me! That night I did not feel any change; I was there as I wanted to see more of God in my life, I had become a little too predictable and somewhat dull, I felt. Radical I was not! By nature I am somewhat of a ‘radical-conservative’ … I had lost the radical edge and I was looking for it. I had responded in faith and walked to the front, yet I walked back to my seat in faith, but feeling nothing. Things did change, the radical edge did return, but not until many weeks later, back on home soil in Australia – but that’s another story!
Where people testify of God’s answers to their prayers and shed tears of joy; they seem to live on a mountaintop of happy experiences, while you just seem to plod along, loving Jesus but not setting the world on fire. I believe all true believers experience dry spells at various times in their Christian lives. Even Jesus felt the isolation when he cried aloud, “Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?”
Without the nearness of God, there can be no peace. The dryness can be stopped only with the dew of His glory; His presence! The despair can be dispelled only by the assurance that God is not only listening (something He always does), but you are receiving answers from Him. The fire of the Holy Spirit must heat the mind, body, and soul; it must put fuel back into our three ‘well-being’ tanks, spiritually, emotionally and physically.
There have been times where I’ve felt unworthy, like the worst kind of sinner, but in spite of all that, I know He is not far off. Closer than a brother, says Scripture: somehow, in the midst of the dryness I hear that distinct, small voice calling me, “Come, my son. I am aware of all you are experiencing. Know that I still love you and I will never leave you nor forsake you. We will face it together because I am still your Father and you are my child.” Oh, how we all need to know this in the midst of one of our dry spells!
For I have a flame in me that will not be smothered and I know He will bring me out of any dry spell. That, after 30+ years, of walking as a ‘son of God’, is a given!
“For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land and in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil apple of His eye.” (Deuteronomy 32:9-10 NASB)