At times you may experience seasons of spiritual dryness in your journey with God. Perhaps you feel as if you are in a desert wilderness. Your prayers seem to go without answer. Aching and longing, you wish some sort of breakthrough would come. You may even feel as if God is absent altogether.
God’s promises may feel as if they weren’t true. The questions come and go: Will things ever be different? Why is this happening to me? Did I do something wrong? God may seem as if He doesn’t hear you or that He doesn’t even care.
But He does care. He sees you, beloved. He hears your heart cry.
If this is you, don’t give up. God has not abandoned you. He is with you even when you feel nothing; even when you have felt nothing for what seems like an eternity.
You aren’t being punished or forsaken. All is not lost.
Be encouraged. In this season, the Lord is calling you into a deeper place with Him. The wilderness that comes in the midst of your longing for Jesus is actually a gift.
Yes, a gift! This is an invitation from the Lord, the King of kings Himself.
As you persevere, God’s love is purifying you. In this spiritual dryness, He is forming you into a purer vessel of His presence. His perfect leadership has brought you into a time of learning: Learning to walk by faith and not by what you feel.
It’s a difficult, narrow way, but I promise: it’s worth it. He’s worth it.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)
Read this next: God’s Answer When We Feel Nothing
Dark Nights of the Soul
John of the Cross, a poet and well-known believer from the 1500s, called these seasons Dark Nights of the Soul.
They are “dark” not because they are evil, but because our natural sense of God seems absent. We don’t feel His presence like before. The word “night” is used because of trials and temptations that can seem to assail us in these season. These difficulties can range from not trusting in God’s faithfulness to doubting His existence altogether. Sometimes they tempt us to throw in the towel and give up on our relationship with God.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
Your longing for Jesus shows that He has not left you alone. He is using this season to help you trust in Him by faith in the truth of His Word and not your feelings.
God is growing your faith and devotion:
- Faith in God: Free from the need to always sense or feel His presence or your own passion for Him to stay encouraged.
- Devotion to Him: Not firstly seeking our needs and comfort, but seeking what is on His heart and mind.
You are destined for a deeper relationship with Jesus. Your faith will grow stronger than what you see or feel. You will know His presence as never before as you say “yes” to His refining love. The unity you feel with Him will be clearer and purer.
It’s painful: All selfish tendencies and leanings are being crucified. You have to fight harder to avoid seeking some other way to feel comfort or relief. Do not quit. Keep pressing into the Lord. Set your eyes on Him.
Remind yourself often of this: God alone satisfies.
The satisfaction you long for will come in the form of sweet communion and friendship with Jesus. In His perfect time, your breakthrough will come. You will find yourself in closer communion with God. You will be seen leaning upon Jesus, the One for whom your soul longs. As Song of Solomon 8:5 expresses,
“Who is this coming up from the wilderness,
Leaning upon her beloved?“