Do you feel somewhat lacking spiritual vitality and passion? Are you feeling like you’re in a bit of a wilderness spiritually speaking? If you are, you are not alone.

Some recent conversations I’ve had with others it’s pointed to a general sense of spiritual weariness. Of course, it’s not super surprising with the increased isolation and season of uncertainty we’ve all been through. It’s been intense.

I would recognise spiritual dryness as reduced or lack of spiritual desire and passion, it can seem like our love for God and His Word has evaporated, reading the Bible seems like a chore, and prayers can just seem like they’re bouncing off the ceiling.

It’s a sensation that I’m not unfamiliar with. There have been times over the past 14 months in this pandemic where my soul seems a bit disconnected in my relationship with God, I’ve not been as passionate as I want to be, it’s been harder to pray, my motivation to read the Bible has been lower (okay, in honesty there have also been seasons like this before the pandemic as well, there’s only so much we can blame on the pandemic). As I reflected on this I wrote the poem ‘a desolate place’ toward the end of last summer as I recognised that I felt I was in a bit of a desolate place, and yet Jesus met crowds in desolate places (see Matthew 14:13-21)

It can affect us all differently, for Elijah, he felt like he just wanted to give up even after a spectacular spiritual victory in front of the nation at Mount Carmel (see 1 Kings 19). King David, the great hero of the Old Testament and one of Jesus’ ancestors, allowed his eyes and heart to wander causing him to sin and bring suffering to others and he hadn’t event realised how far he had gone off track until the prophet Nathan brings him back to reality (see 2 Samuel 12). The worship leaders – the Sons of Korah – write Psalm 42 as an expression and longing of a soul that’s dry contrasting the passion and joy they once had (see Psalm 42).

You are not alone!

All followers of Jesus (that I know anyway) go through moments and seasons of spiritual drought. In the same way that our human relationships cannot be based purely on our feelings, otherwise we would end up chopping and changing our friendships and family members on a daily basis depending on which side of bed we get out of (oh, just me?), our relationship with God cannot be based on our feelings.

There are days where I feel distant and disconnected, and there are days where I feel close and excited in my relationships with God. I’ve come to learn that I cannot always trust my feelings 100%. My relationship with God is not based on my feelings. Thank God!!

“When you cannot trace God’s hand, you can trust His heart.” Charles Spurgeon

“When you cannot trace God’s hand, you can trust His heart.” Charles Spurgeon

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” Romans 8:35

The inference from this verse is that no, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ! Especially not distress or tribulations – and there’s been plenty of that recently. (Side point – if you ever want to be encouraged in your walk with God then go read Romans ch 8, what.a.chapter.)

I need to take myself and my feelings less seriously, and I need to take God and His promises more seriously.

I need to take myself and my feelings less seriously, and I need to take God and His promises more seriously.

Throughout the Bible we see restoration time and time again. Hope being restored, faith being restored, truth being restored, peace being restored. There is rescue from desolate places and rain always comes again to the dry and arid places. God’s intentions for you is not to leave you in a desolate place but to continue the good work He’s already started in you.

You may be sensing a lack of spiritual vitality right now and it feels like you’re a bit stuck in the mud rather than walking by faith and you know what, you’re not that weird or different than others, but we can indeed take a step forward (and our feelings may take a bit of time to catch up). I’ve found that one of the keys of receiving spiritual refreshment is honesty.

  1. Be honest with yourself

When in moments of spiritual dryness I have come to realise that the problem is not at God’s end. There may be a variety of reasons that I’m in this moment, it could be that I’ve been listening to the wrong influences (there’s only so much Netflix, Spotify, and social media I can consume before it affects my soul), it could be of choices that I have made to ignore God and His ways, or it could simply be a result of the circumstances of the current season. Regardless, I need to be honest with myself and where I can; take responsibility, repent, and redirect my attention back to who God is.

2. Be honest with God

God knows us better than we know ourselves. There’s nothing that we can share with Him that will surprise Him. A relationship is a relationship because it’s two-way. We need to speak to Him, and we need to speak to Him honestly. Don’t worry, He can handle it. I’ve no idea of the number of times that I’ve said to God that I don’t want to pray or read His Word but I’ve asked to have that desire back. Let’s remind ourselves of the many, many, many promises that He’s made to us in the Bible.

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…” James 4:8a

3. Be honest with someone else

Faith is personal but it should not be private. God places us in communities of followers of Jesus called churches and He does that because we need each other. We are not designed to do life alone. Share your season with someone who will speak encouragement, love and truth to your soul.

I believe that God allows us to go through spiritual dry patches to teach us and remind us that our faith is not based on how we feel or our current circumstances but on the death and resurrection of Jesus. The invite is to trust Him, even when you don’t feel like it, is extended. Will you accept?

Reflect

Where are you looking for what your soul longs for? Is it in God or are you looking for comfort in the wrong things?

How do you need to be honest about with yourself, God or with someone else?

Thanks for reading, how do you navigate dry seasons in your relationship with God? Please share in the comments your reflections or any questions that you might have, I’d love to hear from you, Dan

Further reading

‘Crazy love’ by Francis Chan

‘God on mute’ by Pete Greig

‘Leading on empty’ by Wayne Cordeiro