Monday, August 15, 2011

Surviving Spiritual Drought…

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. my soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"  Psalm 42:1-2

It is hot and dry…boy, is it ever.  Enduring this heat has gotten me to thinking about those seasons of my life where I’ve experienced drought in my spiritual life.  Perhaps you know something of what I speak.  Over the next five days, I’d like to share those varied considerations with you.  Today we consider what spiritual drought is and why we may experience it.

It isn’t news to you that we have been enduring an atmospheric drought.  It may rain today, but I suspect that it won’t.  It hasn’t in quite a while, and there seem to be atmospheric conditions that are keeping the rain from developing.  I am very concerned, but I am not fearful for I am confident that it will rain at some point.  I just don’t know when.  So, I pray with my neighbors and others around the country that the Lord will show us mercy and bring rain soon. 

Last evening, I watched on the news and learned that a vital reservoir near where I grew up has all but dried up.  Locals can now walk on the lakebed where there was a great depth of water before.  The reporter spoke of how the parched lakebed crunched beneath his feet.  This reservoir is a water source for nearby communities.  They that live there, unlike me, aren’t simply concerned.  They are fearful.

Dry.  Weariness.  Thirst.  Weakening hope.  Drought. 
Have you ever experienced what one might call spiritual drought?  I have.  Spiritual drought can manifest in multiple ways. 

·      When we pray, we might feel like our prayers aren’t being heard or answered. 

·      When we read the scriptures, it may seem like we can’t break into the page.  Understanding wanes, and the voice of the Holy book might seem to have gone silent. 

·      I’ve stood in worship services where others quickly connected with the Spirit and I felt detached and drifting.  I wondered if I would ever feel the presence of the Lord again…

Dry.  Weariness.  Thirst.  Weakening hope. Drought.
Numerous things can cause spiritual drought.

·      Sometimes it is our own behavior.  Wrong habits, patterns of sin, can develop in our lives that begin to draw us away from the fellowship with the Lord we have known. 

·      Spiritual droughts may come about as a part of a season of hardship brought on by difficult circumstances, or even as a reaction to the behavior of others. 

·      Usually however, I have observed spiritual drought take root in my own life when I have allowed any number of spiritual disciplines to wither and grow sparse in my daily living.  It is a slow process that I may not notice until I look up one day and realize how far I’ve wandered. 

It is important to understand that seasons of spiritual drought are likely to occur through the course of our lives.  We may even be able to see them coming and anticipate their effect.  A doctor’s prognosis of cancer…divorce…the failure of a business endeavor or other financial crisis…any one of these we might see on the horizon and know that their advent might indicate that a dry, difficult season might be ahead.  So what do we do?  How do we prepare for and/or endure periods of spiritual drought?  There is hope and there is help.  Tomorrow, we will consider what it means, and what we need to do in order to ‘Stay Hydrated’ during spiritual drought.

Scripture to Claim: 
Revelation 7:16-17 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.  For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

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