Have you ever found yourself wandering through a spiritual desert? I know I have. I’m told these spiritual “dry spells” happen to every Christian, but that doesn’t make them any less discouraging. There are days when the silence between you and God can be deafening. You try to worship but the words fail. Prayers seem empty, and even Scripture becomes a blur.
Many prominent Christians have shared their thoughts on why this happens: “you’re recovering from a time of sin, dealing with a season of doubt, stuck in an old-fashioned rut,” the list is endless. The more important question is, “What do we do when we find ourselves in these spiritual droughts?” Scott Slayton, of the blog One Degree To Another, recently shared his advice for believers struggling through a spiritual dry spell. Below, you’ll find a list of actions Slayton recommends, as well as a few methods I personally have found helpful.
Remember the Good News
“We can become overly introspective when we walk through the spiritual wilderness. Instead of constantly looking within yourself and evaluating whether your feelings for God are strong enough, instead look to Jesus whose love for you never wavers. When we gaze at Christ, we remember that he lived the perfect life we could never live and then died in our place bearing our sins. We are right with God, not because of our good works, but through faith in Jesus alone. Because of Jesus, we have been reconciled to God, adopted by God, and given an inheritance by God. Look to this encouraging Gospel, for it will remind you of the depth of God’s love for you.”
Read the Story of Elijah
The story of 1 Kings 19 is not what you’d expect from the life of a prophet. At this point, Elijah has spent years serving as God’s appointed messenger. He’s been fed by ravens during a famine (1 Kings 17:2-6), witnessed the LORD raise a boy from the dead (1 Kings 17:22-24), and is just coming off a fresh victory over the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). You would think his confidence is God would be unshakable. Instead, Elijah turns tail and runs the moment he hears the queen is after him.
Elijah’s time in the wilderness reminds us that these moments of despair happen to every Christian. Even in the empty places, the whisper of God is still present.
Talk to a Friend
“The Psalmists aren’t the only people to have walked through the desert. Your Christian friends know what it is like to be discouraged and distant from God. Sit down and talk with them about what you are walking through. Ask them how they worked through it. Even if they cannot offer actionable suggestions, it’s good for us to talk to another believer who can pray for us and encourage us in our struggles.”
In my latest period of spiritual drought, I found that prayer offered me an irreplaceable lifeline to God. Even when it felt like I was talking to myself, I continued to pray and this action served to comfort me. I knew, despite the silence, God heard my prayers. The important thing wasn’t his response, it was that I continued to reach for Him. Christ taught us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), because God will never stop speaking to us so long as we continue to pursue Him!
Time in a spiritual desert can be exhausting, but it doesn’t last forever. God will breathe new life into your weary bones, and on that day, you’ll find He never left your side.