“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.”
Psalms 23:1-6 NKJV
Hard times are a passport that gives you permission to go places you wouldn’t get to any other way. — Levi Lusko
As Christ followers, we’ve all had a mountaintop experience in our faith journey. They are amazing! And if we’re honest, we’d like to stay on top of the spiritual mountain forever.
But very little spiritual growth happens on the mountain. It’s usually in the valley where we experience the most substantial progress. Even with progress, the valley can feel awfully dark. All of the things we learned on the easier days have somehow disappeared. The faith we said we’d never doubt, we doubt. And then we continue in this cycle of feeling far from God and wondering if it will ever end.
You may have questions about these challenging, spiritual times in your life. Let’s answer two of them.
Who goes through them?
Everyone. Every single Christ follower goes through spiritual droughts. And isn’t that what they are? We are literally parched and hungry for God, and yet we can’t seem to sense even an ounce of His presence. We begin to wonder why He would let us feel like this and even wonder if He’s real. We need to understand that we’re not the first person to experience these seasons, and we won’t be the last.
Why do we go through them?
Lots of reasons. Sometimes we go through spiritually dry seasons because we disobey God. Other times we neglect our time with God each day and become distant. We become spiritually dry when we consistently do things that feed our sinful desires. Any and all of those things can cause spiritual starvation.
We also can’t ignore that sometimes our great God allows these seasons for His purposes. He could simply snap His fingers and bring us out of our spiritual drought, but He doesn’t always. Not only that, He could have prevented it in the first place. We cannot attempt to grasp the perfect mind of our God. We just have to trust that if he allows us to walk through a spiritual valley, then He is doing a work in us that can only come when we persevere through what feels like spiritual quicksand.
Often in our dark times, we doubt God’s character and question His love for us. It’s in these spiritually dim places that we have to rely on what we know rather than what we feel.
Have you struggled with how you see God because of a challenging spiritual season? If so, write down one negative thing you’ve believed. Search the Bible to combat your thought, and meditate on this truth.