A Fierce Pursuit In A Dry Season
"Do whatever it takes" has become my mantra these days. Do whatever it takes to abide in Jesus or, in laymen's terms, to stay connected to Jesus throughout the day. Because it's that important to our spiritual health in Christ.
Last month, I encouraged us to treat ourselves like we are sick, doing all that we know to do to care for our impoverished souls. I think some may have misread my words. Perhaps, you can relate to this statement: "I've done whatever it takes and I still feel spiritually dry. It doesn't seem to make a difference whether I spend time with the Lord."
Let's revisit my analogy to physical sickness. My husband and I do whatever we can to prevent sickness when we feel it coming on, but today, despite all his fierce efforts, Adam is very sick. There are some people out there who are fierce every single day in more ways than we are. They seem to be able to avoid sickness altogether--You are amazing, and, yes, I am tempted to jealousy. We are not those people.
We get sick but we don't stop being fierce. Our fierceness helps us get better faster. While it's nice to feel like we have some control over what happens, the reality is that we are not God and we simply cannot control our circumstances. Sickness is part of the fallen world we live in. I have to learn to accept this every time I feel a scratch in my throat.
But let's get back to the more important subject of our souls and deal with these fickle feelings. While setting our minds on Christ often affects our emotions, it won't always. So it's helpful to remember that feelings are not an indicator of the state of our souls. You may feel feel dry spiritually, but that doesn't mean that the time you spend in prayer, the word, and fellowship isn't doing its work in your heart. Some things take time.
I don't like waiting.
Just yesterday I got time in the word with a friend and we camped out in John 11. I'd been wrestling with a lot of fear and thought this passage might give me some eternal perspective. What an understatement!
I won't get into all the details, but read it over when you have a moment. It's amazing to see Jesus' relationship with Mary, Martha, and their brother, Lazarus. He knew them, and they knew him. He clearly loved them, and they loved him. But after hearing news of his sickness and declaring that he would get the glory out of this situation, he waited two days before taking action. Two days. Long enough for the boy to die and for his family to mourn his death.
It was hard for me to slow down and ponder over this text, but it was good. We have to accept that some things take time, but that doesn't mean that God is not working or that something gloriously amazing isn't about to happen in and through us.
Secondly, I would like to remind of you of the title of my last post, "You Are Sick Every Day. Act Like It." In my analogy, my husband got sick after doing whatever it took to not get sick. But we already are sick and we will be until we are with Jesus. There are going to be dry days. There are going to be hard days, but there are going to be great days too. We are going to grow, and you know how I know this?
Because He said so.
"I am the vine," Jesus says in John 15:5. "You are the branches. If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit."
Psalm 1 describes a man who meditates on the word of God day and night as a tree that yields its fruit in its season. There are seasons of dryness, in which we wait on the Lord. And there are seasons of flourishing, where we marvel at our own growth by the grace of God and give Him thanks for the good works he has accomplished through us, works that he prepared for us before the world began. What an incredibly, humbling thing to be an instrument in the mighty hands of God! He's so great, so powerful, so perfectly capable, yet in his generous love and mercy, he chooses to use us.
Persevere, Friend. Keep on doing the good that you know to do. Keep on abiding in your Lord and Savior. Do the next thing. He will not let you down.
Steal A Moment With Jesus
In addition to your own reflection, consider what this passage teaches us about relationship with Jesus.
If you are in a hard place, I also recommend spending some time in Hosea 6:1-6. Be sure to consider its context. Having a study Bible on hand will be helpful to that end. If you do not own one, you can subscribe to one easily here.