This morning I woke up just feeling empty. I felt completely disconnected from God, myself, and with the world around me. I knew something was wrong deep within myself. Deep within my soul. Every Christian wrestles with this feeling at times right? It’s not just me? You know the one… it’s that feeling where there’s a huge gaping chasm between how you’re living and your faith. It comes packaged with doubts, fears, depression. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. You can go whole seasons of your life not realising your in it or purposefully ignoring it. Some people call it a dry period, I’ve heard others call it the dark night of the soul experience. Whatever it is, it sucks! Sometimes I feel like looking in the mirror and wonder what’s going on? Do I not pray enough? Do I not read my Bible enough? Do I not have enough faith? Do I not go to church enough, or the right church? Do I not believe in the right set of doctrines? Maybe there’s sin in my life. Maybe God doesn’t love me as much as I thought. Maybe God doesn’t even exist. Doubts and darkness creep in and slip through the cracks and it’s easy to spiral into an unfruitful, loveless, lifeless Christianity. So, what do we do when it feels like we’ve come to the end of our rope?
I’ll be blunt. There’s no easy answer. You can pray, fast, read the bible in a year, go to church and listen to every sermon under the Sun and still not be able to climb out of your spiritual rut. Let me, however, ask another question, what if it’s in the rut that God intends to have you in order to conform you to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29)? I’m not saying God intends to keep you in your sin. God hates sin, He hates when you participate in it, He hates when you sin against others and He hates when you sin against Him. I know it’s hard, sometimes nearly impossible, but even in the dry ruts you can turn from sin and continue to trust in God and what He might be doing in you in the midst of the rut. Sin does not have dominion over you (Romans 6:12), it doesn’t have power, you can say no to sin and yes to God if the Spirit lives inside of you (Romans 8:1-11, Galatians 5:16). What I am saying is even if you are keeping your nose clean, life can still feel pretty rubbish. It is in these seasons however that perhaps God is doing His best work. What better time to trust in God than when there’s no excitement and pizzaz. What better time to trust in God then when you can’t tell He is near (though He’s probably closer than ever). What better time to love God and walk by the Spirit when you just don’t feel like it. What better time to love your neighbors when they’re always grinding your gears. What better time to go the extra mile at work when all you want to do is go home. What better time to lavish love upon your spouse when all you want to do is watch television or scroll on Facebook. What better time to worship the God of the universe when it’d be easier to shelve Him and put Him in the back burner.
The dry ruts are the best times of growth and worship. In your high times you’ll look back on them fully appreciating what God had done for you in those moments, what He had to teach you, what He had to show you. It might even take a few more ruts until you get it, but never forget that God loves you, He is with you, and He is always working things out for your good.