If you've been a Christian for any length of time, you've probably heard about "dry spells": When you are still doing what you do (reading the Bible, praying, going to church), but you feel disconnected from the Lord. I've been in a dry spell, I guess. I am reading my Bible (trying the chronological approach to reading through the Bible in a year. Not loving it). I am praying. More or less. Sometimes less than more, but praying. Going to church is a bit tricky, because I'm between churches right now for longer than I ever have been, with it being summer and traveling and simply not being in town to visit churches to see where I need to be. I have been going to churches when I can, but as a visitor.
I don't like feeling disconnected. I don't like feeling helpless. I know that God is still there. I know that it's usually me that has stepped away, or has something going on in my head or heart that's blocking the connection. But I haven't known what it was. My recourse: Just keep praying that God will show me what it is and keep doing what I know to do. Keep trusting. Keep walking.
There is an excerpt from C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters" that I always think about during those dry times:
Sooner or later, [God] withdraws, if not in fact, at least from [believer's] conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature [that would be us] to stand up on its own legs--to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. . . He wants [believers] to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hands; and if only the will to walk is really there, He is pleased even with their stumbles. (The Screwtape Letters, p. 39)I have learned that there is really nothing I can do to "fix" it, much as I would like to. I got some insight about a week ago, totally out of the blue. The thought came to me that I was angry at God. I was frustrated and mad (again) about being single and childless when I have desired my whole life to be married and a mom. It's not like God and I have not wrestled, argued, and cried about this before. We have. Numerous times. For me, part of peace with the Lord is sharing all my emotions with Him, bad ones included. He already knows what I'm thinking, and only by telling Him exactly what I am thinking and feeling can I clear the path to intimacy with Him. Which sounds great, except that it usually involves pain and tears, which are not my favorite way to spend an evening.
So, knowing what I now need to do: spend some time and go to that place and bring it to God, I finally sit myself down to do it. And I do. And, lo and behold, this time the whole spectre of singleness was NOT really the problem. Turns out I was mad about something else. Turns out I didn't appreciate being obedient in a hard area and feeling sure I was following the Lord's direction only to feel all alone and left out. So, we dealt with that. Which equaled me feeling a little bit better because at least I knew WHY I was feeling like I was.
I still don't feel very connected. At the end of that evening, the one thing I was reminded of was the basic truth about Jesus in my life: I am not alone. Felt or not, He is with me always, as He promised in scripture: And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
I also had a song running through my head, "There You Are" by Carolyn Arends (whom you've probably never heard of, and I don't know if she has anything recent, but she is one of my favorites):
Carolyn Arends - There You Are
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And so I will keep walking. And trusting. And, eventually, the connection will return:
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:6-7).