Spiritual dryness. Probably we have all been there at one time or another. Reading the Bible is like eating sawdust. The church worship service seems boring and irrelevant. Prayers feel like they are just bouncing off the ceiling. God seems distant and silent.
Having been a follower of Jesus Christ for over 40 years (40 years??? Is that even possible? Yikes.) I know I’ve experienced many, many periods of walking through a spiritual desert. Let me offer you a few random observations and nuggets of advice:
- Don’t panic! Spiritual dryness is common. God still loves you with a relentless, tenacious love! This spiritual dry time will not last forever.
- Attempt a little self-diagnosis. There can be many different causes for spiritual dryness. Is there blatant sin and compromise in your life? Have you been under a great deal of stress, either at work or in your family life / marriage? Have you been suffering from an acute illness or sheer exhaustion? Usually the dryness is from a combination of a number of different factors. The cure may be as simple as you catching up on your sleep or there may be personal sin that is building a wall between you and God – repentance and confession are the keys for you getting back on the right track.
- Oftentimes there is no discernible reason why you are dry. It just is what it is. Knowing that isn’t a solution – but maybe it will help you to not feel guilty when there really isn’t anything to feel guilty about.
- Confide in a trusted Christian friend or mentor. Just articulating your dryness to someone else is often therapeutic and helpful. Their encouragement and prayers will be like a cup of cold water for your soul.
- Read the Psalms. These ancient Hebrew writings are marked by gut level honesty and emotional transparency. Crying out with feelings of injustice, abandonment and discouragement are common. This book can help you to worship and trust God even in the midst of doubt, anger and confusion.
- Keep doing what you know to do. Singing songs of praise in church or reading your Bible when you’re totally not feeling it isn’t hypocritical; it’s called being faithful and not letting your emotions determine your conduct.
- Be hopeful. Oftentimes it is the desert places where we grow the most. When you come out on the other side you will probably have a deeper knowledge of the faithfulness of God and an even greater understanding of his love for you.
“You sent abundant rain, O God, to refresh the weary land.” Psalm 68:9
Hang in there my friend!