“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights he was hungry.” Matthew 4:1-2
Dry periods in my life are deliberate. But what does that mean?
To me, it means not to sense God’s presence — to feel disconnected from Him, His promises and what He wants for me.
I know when I’m in a dry place. Often, I soldier on hoping for a return to Him, faking truth as I go — so others don’t see.
Why do I feel disconnected from God and from other believers? Days go by and I hold on, wondering how I got to this place — this separation from God?
I review my dryness in my own understanding. I make excuses for straying off course. I become apathetic.
Dryness is a place of refining because after a certain amount of time of “standing” comes temptation. Temptation does not address our inward man (where God lives) but knocks loudly on the door of our mind, will and emotions.
I have been struggling to hold on in my own might but my tempter slyly asks, “Is all that struggling really worth it when you can have immediate gratification?”
This enemy tries to wrench my heart away from God by offering all sorts of promises for relationships, resources, recognition and power — and it is in my response that this battle will be won or lost.
I am worn down but I am in the very place God wants me — over and over He gives me choice. Over and over I can choose Him or the temptations of the world and immediate gratification to make myself feel better.
Jesus, when tempted, said, “It is written, man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
God’s word brings life. I am slammed back to the very crux of what God wants from me. He wants to give me His life.
I review my choices against His word. Have I been going through the motions of Christianity so I can get what I want – relationships, resources, recognition and power?
Have I been intimate with Him? The One who made me, who saw my every day lived out — before one of them ever came to be?
Have I realized my lostness without Him?
Have I realized that His heart has been broken as I have taken His gift of salvation and cast it aside — instead finding solace in my own definition of Christianity?
Has my attention been on myself instead of remembering the true freedom and love His salvation has brought me? Have I forgotten His sacrifice? His death? His resurrection? All for me.
Have I become dry because I’ve become a stopped up well? Because I’ve not allowed His love to flow through me into the lives of others — bringing salvation, healing, restoration?
Have I said no to the choices He’s presented me? Have I been stubborn in my service — choosing those whom I will help — those whom I like or want to impress. Have I said no to those who are unlovely, who I don’t like or who inconvenience me?
Have I become stagnant through my insistence on walking out my Christianity in my own, comfortable way?
“Return to me.” A constant whisper of the Holy Spirit. I hear Him continually, reverberating in the background of my heart –His voice soft and almost inaudible behind the clamor of my anxiety and inward dryness.
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and morning.” Joel 2:12
So simple. Return to me. Let go of what has kept you from Me. Return to Me with a pure and contrite heart — crying out, grieving your lost moments with Me.
I will give you rest. I will give you true peace. I will give you life in abundance.
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30