Life can be pretty hard. If you need me to tell you that, then you’ve likely been living in a bunker somewhere isolated from things like relationships and stocked with everything you could possible want…or you’re in complete denial. Those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, I think, can sometimes feel guilty when life gets hard and doubts come in. That, or they can become resentful that the faith they bought into doesn’t seem to be delivering when they want it to. These times, when faith gets hard and there is no flood of God that rushes in to quench the thirst of our spirit is what God meant when he spoke through the prophets of a “dry and weary land.”
Sometimes life is dry and weary, and it’s in those times that we can feel forgotten or neglected by God. That sense of abandonment, unfortunately, says more about us and our desperate need than it does about God and how he runs things. Things just haven’t been the same since we sinned and broke our communion with God. Yes, it was Adam’s sin, but let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that we’d have done things differently. In fact, we’ve had more than a few chances to choose righteousness and blown it. In his letter to the believers in Rome, Paul draws a connection between how creation groans “for the sons of God to be revealed” and how we “long for our adoption as sons” (see Romans 8:19-25). That got me thinking about the far reaching consequences of our sin and how it has diminished our ability to trust God, thus creating a great struggle for us to exercise faith.
When God first created the earth, it didn’t rain. Everything was watered from springs under ground (see Genesis 2:6). The benefit of this is that no matter what was happening above ground, the roots of the plants ran deep and always had enough water. Though it may be “dry and weary” weather, the plants still thrived because the living water beneath them continuously met their need. When God flooded the earth, those underground springs burst forth (Genesis 7:11-12). Water came up and water came down, changing the landscape and weather patterns forever. Now, under the curse of sin, all plants were dependent upon rain coming in its season, and things like drought were a painful, life-threatening reality.
We live in this reality. Rather than having an unhindered communion that nourishes us and deepens our roots, we often find ourselves waiting for rain to fall. In those seasons we grow faint and weak. Our roots are shallow and we wrestle with doubt, fear, resentment, discouragement … rather than trusting God to be faithful, we question and accuse him. This is our weakness, not his. There will come a time when we are constantly nourished again, when all things are made new. Until then, we must discipline ourselves to nurture our connection with God. Even when we cannot feel it, when all is dry and we are weary, we must exert our will and exercise our faith to bless the Lord, to praise his name, and to seek his face.
Living in Northern California, I’ve seen some drought. It isn’t pretty. Vegetation begins to die out, and trees begin to get distressed because their roots aren’t finding water deep, so they begin to come to the surface and weaken the tree. We, too, can become distressed when we don’t think God is there for us. The truth is, however, that he is always there for us. His word is eternal; it never fades. His Spirit inhabits us, and more often than not, it is we who tune him out as we focus more on circumstances and unmet expectations than on God and his character. Rather than being like a tree planted near a stream of living water, we tend to live like a pansy in a drought.
Psalm 1 tells us to delight in God’s word and to meditate on it day and night. We don’t. We struggle to make time to have a devotional and prayer. It’s no wonder our spirits feel starved and weak. I don’t know about you, but I find myself choosing some pretty worldly things to unwind with: coffee, movies, maybe a video game, losing myself in Facebook. Yet I don’t have time for prayer? With time for all that, I can’t make time for my Creator, my Redeemer? Like I said, I think the dry and weary condition of our souls says far more about our desperate need and anemic walk with God than it ever will about God and his way of doing things. Maybe we need to take a cue from creation and long for God and for that communion with him like our life depends on it … because it does. Life will never be abundant as long as our communion with God is in drought stage. Surrender, trust, and seek. See the difference it makes.