Dry Deserts

Looking through the stats on this blog over the last few years I noticed that July is typically the quietest month of the year. August is a close second. It’s understandable, summer is here and people have a tendency to get outdoors and enjoy the summer while it is here. But from a spiritual perspective, July and August can have a tendency to be a bit on the dry side. I’m not really keen over that personally, because I am not fond of “dry times”. 

I remember many years ago I went through a week of the most harshest “dry time” that I had ever experienced. It was terrible and I never want to experience it again. I know we all experience those times when God seems to be distant but this was different. I was relatively young in my walk with God and it’s pretty safe to say that I definitely wasn’t exerting much effort on walking the straight and narrow. It was more like me having one foot on each side of the fence, if you know what I mean. 

Reference points are important because they establish a parameter or spectrum of what is normal and what is not normal. They also exhibit or provide the basis of the extent of what is not normal. Key word being “extent”. Surprisingly enough, here I was complaining to God on how distant He was, while at the same time I had one foot on each side of the fence. Kind of like I expected God to accept my alternating behaviours without any negative consequences. I did mention that I was relatively young in my walk with God! Nevertheless, I did complain. Big mistake.

What I experienced immediately there after was the tap was shut off. Completely shut off. Not even a trickle. Totally dry. I don’t think that I ever felt more alone in my entire life. It was terrible. It’s hard to put into words the extent of the isolation that I felt. I’ve never forgotten it and I never want to have it repeated.

And the lesson that I was shown was two fold. There are degrees of “dryness”. Periods of “spiritual dryness” serve a purpose and are introduced or allowed to touch us for reasons that sometimes only God knows. Most times they are for our own good, when we make, of necessity, that “extra effort” to draw closer to God. But sometimes they can also serve another purpose, where they introduce the reference point of the extremes of the extent of those parameters. And that is what I experienced. God never told me this but I felt it to my very core. It was like God said to me, “you think I am distant from you, this is what it feels like when I totally remove Myself from your awareness.” And He was gone, totally gone, for a whole week. I can’t think of a more terrible week that I ever went through. I have a difficult time even putting it into words. 

After a week, actually seven days, the eighth day my awareness of God returned. It wasn’t any great awareness but He was there. I knew it whereas during those seven days, I knew nothing.

I can tell you this. I have never complained about God being distant again, ever. I still encounter “dry spells”, not very often or only infrequently, and I still am not keen about them, but those “dry spells” cause me to draw closer. More “face to face” time with Jesus. More time in His Word. 

But that reference point I was given, the extend to which my awareness of God’s presence can change in degrees, has never returned to what I was once shown. What I learned is this. Sometimes we don’t feel that awareness of God but that doesn’t mean that God is not near. He is always near. Our awareness can and does change, but God doesn’t change. But even that awareness we have of Him, has degrees, most times of which, we take for granted. But it can go beyond that, those reference points we are all familiar with, and that is not a place where anyone wants to go. 

I’ve experienced my share of the glory of the presence of God, and I have one mountain top experience that I also will never forget, but those experiences can swing both ways. Never assume, just be thankful and remember that Jesus told us that He would never leave us, because He won’t. 

When God seems distant, examine what you are doing, see if there is anything that He is trying to show you and draw closer to Him. He will, in His own time, according to His purposes, draw closer to you, via our awareness. Awareness is a funny thing, it is based on feelings. But God’s promises and reality goes beyond that, and even when He may seem, according to our feelings, distant, He really isn’t. 

My wife and I have been married for 52+ years. She is a part of me and I am a part of her. I don’t always need to be in her face to appreciate her oneness with me, but when for some reason, her presence is gone, the norms are changed. The norms go back to normal when I see her again. With God it’s the same only He is always there, even when He apparently, according to my feelings, has left the room. The thing is, there is no room with God, God is everywhere and He is always there. 

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

16 comments

  1. Very insightful Bruce. God has done the same with me on the dryness parameters. I so relate. It seems to be His method of operation on many aspects of our lives as he keeps making my box bigger or just knocking out the walls. He does allow more pain (just one example as an aspect of life) than we an endure (on our own). Then he allows more than that. It could be a book with each aspect of life that God changes in us…being a chapter. There you go…

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    • Funny you should mention that Gary, because the same thought crossed my mind as I was writing Chapter One. Those would be those springs that we didn’t even have a clue about, correct? Or unexpected telephone poles along the highway of our walk? Maybe next time! Blessings!

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  2. I am not a fan of dry spells, either, Bruce! But I remind myself every day when I pray out loud and thank the Lord for the reality of His presence, with or without my emotions confirming it. I pray a lot of Scripture, and I pray out loud, so I hear myself saying it. It may not give me the spiritual warm fuzzies I love, but it is a way of giving my faith stability when I speak the truth as a sheer act of my will.

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    • Hi Annie, I do the same thing with some memorized Scriptures at different times. Always time well spent! God’s blessings to you and yours, Annie and thank you for taking the time to comment. Always appreciated!

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  3. Such a wonderful post of assurance, Bruce, and beautifully rich thread of comments! I just feel like I walked through a fountain! And congrats on your 52 years!
    Sending love and blessings to you and your family—
    Deb

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  4. Thanks for sharing your experience Bruce. I’d never thought of things this way, that dry times can actually act as reference points that God uses to show us how we don’t want to be!

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    • My pleasure, Jo. I can tell you from personal experience, it was a lesson that I did not soon forget. Still not crazy about them but they do pass and they do cause us to draw near. Blessings!

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  5. After my ministry I now want to see if July is my lowest month…what a lesson you had from God that God is there despite how we feel

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