“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7, NKJV).
Have you ever had one of those days when trying to pray feels like pushing through sludge? If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, you probably have. The fact of the matter is that we will all go through seasons when God is training us not to depend on our feelings as we grow in our relationship with Him.
It’s important to distinguish between a spiritual dry patch, and the concept of a bronze heaven that we have been discussing the last two days. A closed heaven is a result of disobedience in our lives; whereas seasons in the desert are actually a result of longing for God! When He sees that we are yearning for more of Him, He begins to train us in the principles of maturity that will eventually bring tremendous freedom into our lives. Among them is a deepening of our faith to the point where we are completely confident in God even when exterior circumstances seem to scream that everything is going wrong.
If we are honest, all of us prefer the glorious highs that come with mountaintop spiritual experiences. Although not being able to feel them is uncomfortable, in the end, God’s training seasons are of enormous value in our lives.
As we grow up in the faith, Holy Spirit is relentlessly developing steadfastness and stability in our character. When we start out as newborn Christians, we tend to be “lightweights” in terms of our ability to remain encouraged in the face of adversity. Holy Spirit’s goal is that “…we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind…” (Eph. 4:14, NIV). He plans on making us so strong that nothing at all can knock us down or intimidate us!
To this end, He brings us through times when we don’t have “all the feels” and are forced to rely solely on faith as we seek Him in prayer and worship. In those times, our roots are going deeper and deeper into Him as they seek for His living waters. This happens to ensure that we “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13).
If you currently find yourself in the midst of a desert season, I promise you, it won’t last forever. Times of refreshing will come again. Meanwhile, God wants you to know that every single time you carve out alone time with Him, it’s working. Your feelings are not an accurate measurement, whatsoever, of the growth that is happening in you. Even when you come away from your quiet time without having experienced any “feels” at all, that time with Him was absolutely effective. He is producing results in you that will take your breath away once they are revealed at the right time. He is powerfully at work. Don’t give up!