Pastor’s Corner: “Water in the Desert”
Psalm 42:1-2 (NLT) – As a deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before Him?
Have you ever felt distant from God? Can you relate to David’s words in Plasm 42? Spiritual dryness in our lives can most certainly be caused by our own, wandering, sin and rebellion against God. Isaiah 59:2 (NIV) – 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. Although God never leaves us, our choices keep us from His presence. But thankfully God has provided a remedy! Acts 3:19 (NIV) – 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Through the grace of God and the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, we can be restored and refreshed.
But what do we do when we are experiencing spiritual dryness in our lives not related to our sin? How do we endure these seasons of distance and dryness? Think about Job. Think about David. Scripture says that David is a man after God’s own heart (I Samuel 13:14). The man after God’s own heart knew his share of difficult times. David experienced disappointment and discouragement firsthand. He writes of his hard times openly in the Psalms. He depressed. He’s been exiled and is on the run, in hiding, and mourning what has been left behind. Can you imagine being driven from your home, away from your family, with people looking to harm you? It was a very hard season for David and we get a glimpse into that as he shares with great vulnerability.
If a man after God’s own heart can find himself feeling distant from the Lord, then certainly we will at some point in our lives too. Often we feel ashamed of being spiritually dry. We hide it from others, and keep up appearances, perhaps fearing that this dryness says something bad about us. But David pours out his soul: the fear, the loneliness, even a sense of betrayal that God has abandoned you (v.9). If you feel spiritually dry, not only are you in good company, but it’s OK to admit it.
Psalm 42 points to other ways for us to respond to spiritual dryness with David’s example:
Psalm 42:4,6 (NIV) – 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. 6 My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. He remembers and recites all that God has done for him in the past and all his times of joy and praise of God. Look past your current situation and remember and recite to yourself all that God has done for you (out loud if necessary)!
Psalm 42:5 (NIV) – 5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Despite his feelings, he puts his hope in God and praises him. Do not let your feelings lead you. Lead your feelings into hope and praise through action!
Psalm 42:8 (NIV) – 8 By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. David prays out loud to God reminding Him of His promise of love for David. We need to recite out loud all of God’s promises to us!
Psalm 42:11 (NIV) – 11 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. When all else fails, you put your hope in God and Praise Him again!
David also knew that God never wastes our experiences. He uses these experiences to build us and grow up and develop us. SPIRITUAL DRYNESS CAUSES US TO DIG DEEPER – to grow and mature and draw closer to God. Jeremiah 17:8 (NLT) – 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
But even when you don’t do these things, God is still for you. When your faith is at an end, Jesus’ keeps going. When you can’t do anything, when you have nothing to bring to the table, no way of maintaining your relationship with God, then Jesus, your great high priest, sits at the father’s right hand and intercedes for you. This is the grace of God – not that we do anything to maintain our relationship with God but that He does it. It all depends on Him. God is our Savior and He never changes!
In His Grace,