I’ve been thinking about some things lately and talking about them with my husband. One thing is how God uses the trials of dry spiritual times in our lives to deepen our faith.
So often, we think about spiritual growth happening from those ‘mountain top’ experiences. You know, conferences, retreats, really exciting and powerful times of worship or prayer, even cool insights from the scriptures. Those are the times when God opens our eyes to see new truths that need embracing or to see old sins that need repentance. But those are not really where spiritual growth happens, only where it is born.
The growth really transpires when we come down from those mountain tops to the valleys, the places where we live. The everyday working out of our faith, the mundane and ordinariness of our lives is where the REAL work takes place. It is allowing God to change us deep down to the core of our being that causes real growth.
We all go through those spiritual dry times that can cause us to ache with longing to see the face of God, to hear His voice, to sense His presence. Others around us may be in the midst of a vibrant and exciting time of hearing from and seeing God work in powerful ways. It causes us to look at our own lives and think, “We must have missed the mark. We must be far from God and not receiving His blessing. There must be something wrong with me.”
Sadly, others will often believe that lie as well. Because that is what it is. A lie. Now, of course there could very well be a problem in our hearts. Maybe there is sin that God is reproving us of and we are running. Maybe we are choosing complacency as an easier course to follow in our lives. BUT when we are longing for God to reveal Himself to us, when we are walking in obedience and trust, when we are CHOOSING to believe no matter what we feel – then it IS a lie to believe that dry times mean we are out of His will.
Sometimes those desert times are exactly where we need to be to make our faith more than just something we do. Sometimes those desert times push us to hold so tightly to our belief and trust that it melts into us and becomes intrinsically entwined with the very fabric of our soul. This results in a life that is not filled with faith, but a life OF faith.
Mountain top times are fun! They are exhilarating and powerful. Sometimes we can get so excited by the feelings of power (even the power of the Holy Spirit) that we don’t want to let it go. God WILL bring us to a different place and time eventually. He WILL bring us to the place where we have to let those truths and that conviction work deep into our lives. Even Jesus lived a great deal of His life in the mundane activities of a carpenter or itinerant preacher.
“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
But this life of the ordinary is where the TRUE power of God is exhibited and perfected in our lives. In the TRUTH AND JOY of the gospel lived out through sanctification – our life being changed into the image of Jesus. What have been the dry times of your life like and how has God used them in powerful ways to exhibit His love and growth in your life?