“Be still before God and wait patiently for Him…” (Psalm 37:7)
Dry seasons - those lonely times when God seems to be as far away as He possibly could, sometimes not even there at all. When in the midst of a dry season, the enemy tries to convince us that what we are experiencing is abnormal, uncommon and even proof we aren't saved. But in reality, all Christians go through dry seasons – multiple times. They are actually quite common among the body. Read about David in the Psalms and you'll see what I mean.
But we all know in the back of our minds that while it will pass and we aren't alone, we just can't help but think we're doomed forever. It can throw us off from our flow with the Lord and leave us unmotivated to go to Him. Common questions asked in the midst of this time are – what am I doing wrong? What am I supposed to do during this time of trial? Is God punishing me? Does this mean I'm not saved? You may be surprised at what the core of the issue is. Below, are 7 tips on how to get through a dry season.
Before we can determine ways to cope during our seemingly absent time from the Lord, we first need to decipher what exactly has caused it. I'm going to be honest – sometimes they happen spontaneously and without cause. The Lord uses them as a time of molding and growth. While He has to open your heart, think about things that He may be trying to show you. What if this time away from God is Him drawing you closer? What if He is preparing you for something deeper? In Psalm 37, it continues on in verse 19 talking about the “blameless” in God’s sight, which we can assume are His children since we are no longer a slave to sin and defined by it. It says – ““they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance.” Yes, when we think of famine, we think of food and physical needs but I think this can be taken spiritually as well. In the times when we feel almost everything has been robbed of it’s purpose, we are experiencing abundance! God is using what seems to be a time of isolation to give you what you need – to take care of you, to shape you, to supply you with strength.
Another thing to think about is sin. In our last devotional here on Whole Teens, we talked about guilt and how our sin can have a damaging affect on who we are and how we behave. Ask yourself if there is a sin or mistake you're hiding within yourself. Is sin holding you back from God? Is it building a wall between the two of you? Have you gone to Him in honesty? The Lord doesn't leave us, ladies. It is typically us doing the leaving, and our sin can undoubtedly create that. But again, this only happens when the enemy fights for it. God knows everything about us, but He wants to know that we want to go to Him about things.
Lastly, I'm a firm believer in the idea that as long as we leave our Bibles closed and lack in our efforts to interact with Him – He won't be as prominent in our lives as we want. Complaining that God isn't working in your life when your Bible is closed is the equivalent to complaining about not getting text messages when your phone is turned off. Are you giving Him the room to permeate in your life? The more room we give Him, the more of Him we will receive.
Now that you've reflected on what could be causing the season, let's take a look at those 7 tips:
1. Don't Lose Confidence in God’s Goodness
“For the Lord will be our confidence and will keep your foot from being caught,” says Proverbs 3:26. If anything, we can rest assured that the Lord’s plan for us, those who love Him, is nothing less than good (Romans 8:28). Yes, He disciplines and teaches us, but we are not subjected to a plan and spirit of fear, discouragement and false hope. That's not what He provides. The Lord is all things good, mighty and true. What He has in store for you, will do nothing but help you grow and provide goodness to your life. That dry season you are going through, as hard as it is to believe, is bringing forth goodness for you. We may not see it, but Jesus can (John 13:7).
2. Be patient
In Galatians 5, the Lord gives us a list of qualities that are associated with the a Holy Spirit – they are qualities we are instructed to value, obey and possess. One of those qualities? Patience. There's a reason why the Lord granted this as a quality – He knew there would be times when we would be forced to wait and the only thing we could possibly do is just be patient. In Scripture, patience is deemed as a characteristic of virtue and reward. Notice how those who were willing to wait patiently, not in a frustrating, do-it-yourself manner, were given above and beyond what they expected. Through patience comes restoration and alleviation. 1 Peter 5:10 tells us that after waiting in suffering for a lengthy period of time, GOD HIMSELF will hold you upright once again. Be patient! Your breakthrough is coming soon.
3. Continue to Pursue Him
I struggle with this one tremendously. When I'm in the midst of a dry season, I have a terribly tendency to shrivel up and hide myself from God. It causes a disconnect that is spiritually unhealthy and it makes it that much harder to regain that connection. In Deuteronomy 4, we are told that we will find God when we seek Him, but only if we seek Him with all our heart and soul. We have to persistently and constantly be seeking for Him. Even when you feel like you don't want to, do it. He wants to be sought out by us. Search for the Lord fervently in the times of dryness and He will make His presence known to you again (Scripture promises us this).
4. Cling to the Word of God
Holding fast to the word of Life (Philippians 2:16), meaning don't leave it. To us, the Bible is God’s main way of communicating with us. The Word is alive and active, everlasting and as relevant today as it ever has been. Without His Word binded around your neck and interwoven in the depths of your heart, it is nearly impossible to grow in Christ and let Him speak to you. Taking this into consideration, it is especially important to stay in the Word as much as you possibly can. Make it your soul food and feed on it morning and night. This will assure that you're making an effort to reach out to Him, and that you're persistent about continuing in growth regardless of the time you're in.
5. Listen for Him & Watch for Response
Faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the Word (Romans 10:17). Once you've established yourself in the Word, you can start to hear. This hearing and listening for the Lord strengthens faith. So next time you are in the middle of your dry season, get into the Word and just hear. Not only hear, listen. Listen to what the Lord is trying to say to you. Don't hear anything? That's fine. Keep listening. Minimize the distractions around you and focus on limiting your environment so much that all you have left is the Holy Spirit. This way, you can know when God is tending to your heart and trying to send you a message.
6. His Time Clock, Not Yours
I've never been good at this one either. As God Almighty, His knowledge, understanding, and perception of time is so much greater than ours – no human will ever be able to fully think and process like the Lord does. That is why we are to rely on His thinking and His ways, not our own. Mankind loves to think they know what's best for them but I'm sorry, none of us do. Only our Creator does. When you're reaching for patience genuinely, ask yourself if it's possible that you're too busy in the business of your own life? Sounds weird, doesn't it? But it's true. When we rush God to get done what we want when we want it, we aren't giving Him the breathing room to work and restore us back to wholeness. We need to get out of our own way and give the Lord the room to work based on His timing and when He wants to do it. We may want something that God knows isn't beneficial for us.
Honestly, sometimes all you can do is wait and trust that God is doing something. We aren't supposed to know everything, friends. If we did, there would be no time and room for growth. As cliché as the message is, it really is through our times of heightened confusion and blurry vision that God does the most refining.
Waiting on the Lord is hard. As Christ followers who desire the heart of our bridegroom, we get naturally frustrated and confused when we feel absent from His presence. What can we do? Well, nothing. We can try as hard as we can to make a change and force that feeling to come back but we can't – if we could, we would be able to. That is why these tips are not so much for instruction, just suggestion and food for thought. While there aren't ways to change it, there are ways to cope.
Rest in the Lord today. Give Him the room. Repent of your sin and draw near to Him with boldness. Be patient in tribulation. And simply…wait. This time of waiting is only making you stronger. Are you going through a dry season right now? If so, which one of these tips could be improved and stands out the most?