Psalm 23:3, ‘He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake.’
If you’re a Christian, are you going through a spiritually dry season? From time to time, spiritually dry seasons happen for all Christians; you’re not alone. We’d rather not go into those seasons because they’re painful and can cause doubt. In light of the spiritually dry seasons, I’d like to submit a few thought provoking points for your consideration and offer some encouragement, as well…
Embrace The Desert & The Wilderness...
If our car runs out of gas, do we abandon it and buy another car? No. We fill up the tank and drive away. We may have to walk a few miles to get the gas or we might have to call for assistance, but we don’t just leave our car behind. We remember what the car provides in our life, we see the value in it, and we move toward a solution; in the case with the car running out of gas, the solution is to get gas. The same applies to the Christian life. Like the car/gas scenario, there’s a process we go through… “God wants us to learn and grow but we’re in a dry season?”, “To Whom do I go to get spiritually refreshed?”, “Will God strengthen and sustain me as I persevere through this dry season?”. We learn a lot in a scenario like that. The Bible communicates that God would have us to learn what we can while we’re in this season with what we have, while trusting Him.
Part of the Christian experience is that we’re still affected by sin even though we (Christians) have been made new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We still carry sin with us (Romans 7:15-21) and while sin is also present around us, it makes the spiritually dry season more difficult than it already is. Now, one reason for a spiritually dry season may be because of practicing personal sin; and in those cases, the solution may be as simple as repenting, confession to Christ (and a trusted Christian), receiving God’s forgiveness, and moving on. But when it comes to those of you who are having a genuine struggle with sensing God’s presence, feeling like you hit a brass ceiling when you pray, and not really receiving the message of the Bible when you study it… and it’s not due to sin… then you know you’re in the wilderness and in a spiritually dry season.
Can you think of people in the Bible who were in a literal wilderness? Moses spent time there, as did Jesus. And it’s never easy. But what did they do? They saw it as a providential act of God that they were there, they continued to do His will in the midst of it, and God showed Himself faithful (Exodus 3, Matthew 4:1-25). There are times in the wilderness where God’s promises to us are the one thing that God uses to grow us and sustain us. We trust that God will accomplish what He has planned to do. In the wilderness, in a spiritually dry season, we trust in the integrity of God and the trustworthiness of His Word to discover that His grace is truly sufficient. Embrace where God has providentially placed you so that you can learn how to glorify Him in the difficult season as well as the easy season.
Surprisingly- Spiritually Dry Seasons Help You To Grow Spiritually
Romans 5:3-5, ‘3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.’
It’s been said that God is not trying to make His own happy, but instead, He’s growing us to be holy. God uses spiritually dry seasons to prune us, to scrape off the waste, and sometimes to even break us. This is a good thing. Yes… this is a good thing. We rejoice in the sufferings because God has seen fit to not to make us better, but to make us more Christ-like. And there’s a difference. The world strives to be better… but to what end? For themselves, for their own advantage? The Christian path is different. Becoming Christ-like is about eternal things. It’s about God being made much of in our lives and the lives of others and not mankind’s ego. Becoming ‘better’ will end, but Christ-likeness is eternal. And suffering is part of being Christ-like. Our Lord suffered– should we expect any less? In light of suffering and persecution, Jesus even said in Matthew 10:24, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.”. Suffering is a great part of a spiritually dry season. But know this, as we suffer we learn how to endure. In the endurance we see the new things that God is doing in us and in our character, (our integrity), becomes more like our Heavenly Father’s character. When we have that, we know we have hope. Because of the work that the Holy Spirit is putting into us He’s doing for Kingdom reasons and to bless us… and He will continue that work until the day of Christ. In fact, what does the Bible say in Philippians 1:6?... ‘And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.’.
Why would the Father do such a work? His love has been poured into us and He Himself has been given to us. God invests Himself and His love into us. The one motivation to keep going in a spiritually dry season is that God loves us and His purpose for us is for a greater goal… to be more Christ-like, to experience His love, and to know that He is a God that will sustain us. In all of this, we have the best opportunity for true and lasting growth. In the wilderness process, which is part of God’s sanctifying work in our lives, spiritual growth equals Biblical holiness. Incidentally, (and this is a lesson that can be difficult to receive) we’re happiest when we walk in Biblical holiness.
Christians Get Refreshed By The Lord
Now, in all of this it’s important to remember that we will be refreshed and as we see in Psalm 23:3, “He RESTORES my soul”… God is presently restoring us in the midst of the hurt. We are being refreshed now in the pain of the spiritually dry season because we know, by faith, that He is working. He works on our behalf. He purchased our forgiveness on the cross by His blood and death and has set in motion the fullness of redemption through His resurrection. That fullness includes our sanctification. We may feel as if God has left us, (like the disciples did when Christ was buried), but His past work on the cross, and the promises fulfilled in our lives, supersedes our feelings. Feelings deceive but faith has it’s investment in God Who is our eternal source. Our faith banks on God Who never lies (Hebrews 6:18) and ever supplies (Philippians 4:19). God is refreshing… working behind the scenes (John 5:17)… preparing green pastures just beyond the wilderness (Psalm 23). He’s sustaining us with manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16). His Word never ends (Luke 1:37), His Spirit always gives. He has not left us, nor will He; and God will never forsake His own (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Beloved, be refreshed by the future promise of God as well. Acts 3:19-21 shows us a glorious picture of what is to come, ‘19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.’. Because the Christian has repented and has come to faith in Jesus Christ, they can now expect that they’ll experience the ultimate refreshment. We will be refreshed by the Lord’s presence and by the fact that He will restore all things (According to Acts 3:19-21) . A new world is coming… a world of perfection, of no sin, of pure holiness, and of the love of God. We will be ultimately refreshed (Revelation 21 & 22). By these promises, He is refreshing us now. God is always there; He never left. His love for you is great and though He owes us nothing, God faithfully fulfills His promises to His own.
What we do in the midst of a spiritually dry season is to FAITHFULLY RESPOND. You continue to study your Bible, pray, & worship Him. When Christians act Biblically, we operate on faith and not feelings… And as we do that, we are sure of the promises of God. It is the Father’s heart to be glorified and for His own to know that He will not only sustain, but refresh them in times of a spiritually dry season.
Christ’s Blessings to You,
Pastor Scott Welch, Christ Community Church