If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, I’d be willing to bet you’ve experienced a “dry” season in your spiritual life. Lack of spiritual enthusiasm, a sense of merely going through the motions, and unperceived growth are a sampling of symptoms of the spiritual desert. These seasons can be brought on by sin and decreased sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, but just as often – if not more often – they are characteristic of the natural ebb and flow of life in a fallen world.
As I recently contemplated the reality of the spiritual desert, I was reminded of the unexpected blessings found therein. In my experience, the greatest blessing of the desert is that it creates a renewed thirst for the Living Water. Additionally, these seasons increase my satisfaction in the Living Water. Not only do I thirst for Him; nothing else will quench my thirst but Him. It’s the spiritual equivalent of running a marathon in the summer heat and then being offered a cup of coffee at the finish line. I love coffee, but running a race creates a thirst which can be quenched by water alone.
Another blessing in the midst of the desert is that the discomfort is actually a sign of life, often a much-needed reassurance. Only living beings thirst. It’s tempting to feel dead in the desert, but the thirst is a timely reminder of an existing spiritual pulse.
I’ve been prone to resent the dry seasons in my spiritual life, but I am reminded afresh that God is both willing and able to use every situation and season for His glory and my good. I never desire the desert, but as God would have it, there is priceless Treasure to be discovered in the least likely of places. As Charles Spurgeon memorably wrote, “In the deserts of affliction the presence of the Lord becomes everything to us.”
In the place I never want to go, my heart draws nearer to its Prize. What a gift! What a God!