Have you ever felt like God was far, distant even at those times when you feel you need him most? At the times when it is difficult and if there was ever a moment you needed him it would be now. But he is silent, he’s not saying anything, not a single word. How helpless, frustrating and agonising is it? It’s like being absolutely parched and the only person with water to give you a drink is standing on the other side of soundproof two-way mirror. You can see them however, they seem oblivious to you, no matter how frantic you wave at them, shout and even try and kick the wall down. Perhaps you’d resort to kicking the wall down, but this wall is solid, thick, bullet proof, immovable. Sometimes when we pray the heavens can seem impenetrable. It can feel like there is blockage that we can’t do anything about.
I see it as being in a barren, dry land. Almost like Ezekiel in the valley of the dead bones. Can you imagine being Ezekiel in the valley with the bones? God has most certainly sent you there, but now you’re sat in the valley and the situation looks hopeless and barren. There are no clouds in the sky forming promising rain, there is no slight breeze to cool you down. Basically it’s just hard, its dry and it feels you’re alone. You’ve arrived in the valley out of obedience or maybe even out of disobedience, but you know that God is a redemptive God and he can work every situation for your good. You know he is a merciful God, his long-suffering love demonstrated through and throughout the bible with the Israelites. You have asked for forgiveness if you got there out of disobedience, like Jonah – Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple,’ you have cried out to God from inside the fish and you want the fish to just spit you out because you’ve had enough.
Have you ever cried out to God to change your situation, mainly because you know he is more than able? You have read your bible and story after story the miraculous God shows up in splendour. He comes in to save, always, faithful as ever, but you’re wondering where this faithfulness is, in your life?
When we first get saved, isn’t God very generous with us. He seems to answer our every prayer. It’s like having a baby and every time the baby cries you pick them up, coo them until they stop crying. Our father is a loving father, and as a loving father he cannot keep picking you up and cooing you. As a loving father he understands that he needs to let you grow. I know of parents, who when trying to get their babies in a routine, they will let them cry at specific times at night because no matter how much it hurts to hear them cry, it’s for their good.
What kind of a father would God be if he carried on babying us until we’re twenty? Are we seriously going to thank him for it when we’re twenty but still feed from the bottle? Maturity and acceptance of responsibility is never comfortable, it’s uncomfortable and even sometimes difficult, but we’re being prepared for much greater responsibility. The higher the calling the greater the preparation.
God will use those times of dryness for us to search deeper, come in closer to another level of intimacy with him. He can use those seasons to bring us to the end of “self”, so we learn that to walk in full communion with him will require full surrender. Surrender of self-will, self-dependence, self-provision, whatever self you want to put in there. Until you realise that God wants to be your be all and end all, you will never fully know what it is to be a friend of God. The level of faith I had last season will not carry me through this season. This season demands a greater level of faith, and I will not get that faith easy. The strongest of faith is proven in the most difficult of positions. It would not be faith if it seemed possible and you didn’t maintain your stance of belief however increasingly improbable something was becoming. It would not have been faith if Sarah had Isaac at the age of 25, that’s just natural. Faith demands we perceive with our spiritual eyes what our natural eyes cannot fathom, our spiritual ears hear the sound of the rain when in the natural all our ears hear is silence.
Personally my revelation of God is even greater when he comes into the fire and walks with me and not necessarily lift me out. How am I ever going to know that he is my rescuer, my salvation if he’s never had to rescue me out of situations that were impossible, that demanded that the living God himself intervene. Faith is proven in the waiting, in the silent moments. God knows when we’re spiritually ready to receive a gift when it will benefit us whilst revealing his glory. Your level of faith will depend greatly on the revelation you have of God.
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains”- James 5 vs 7
As much as we’re waiting on God, he is waiting for us. How sweet it is to live in God’s own timing, when God knows we’re ready, he longs no less to bless us exceedingly above what we can even imagine. He longs to bless us abundantly, but like any wise parent it’s best to buy me that car when I’ve passed my test and I understand that I will need to help out and give my brothers and sisters lifts sometimes. A wise man once said your impatience will give birth to something that will fight your promise. Remember Ishmael and Isaac, Sarah’s impatience birthed Ishmael who grew up to fight Isaac, for generations to come.
“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” – Isaiah 30 vs 18
Andrew Murray says its beautifully;
“He stirs up your nest. He disappoints your hopes. He brings down your confidence. He makes you fear and tremble, as all your strength fails, and you feel utterly weary and helpless. And all the while He is spreading His strong wings for you to rest your weakness on and offering His everlasting Creator-strength to work in you.”
God does not enjoy seeing you at the bottom of the pit. Sometimes we need to reach the bare bottom, where we’re utterly defeated, where we have tried everything, where we have toiled and strived to realise that all God wants is our full surrender so he can work his mighty power through us. We were never designed to do it by our inner strength and if we try, we will soon be humbled by things and situations we cannot change. Everyday should be a fresh surrender of all, your whole being to a much higher power, so that God can complete the work he began in you. Let your source of strength be that of the Almighty Father, the one who never grows weary.