As the last student trickles out of the house Cara lingers, waiting to see if we can talk. Cara has been one of our most committed and passionate followers of Christ and I always enjoy hearing what Jesus is doing in her life. Today is different. With hot tears pouring down her face, Cara articulates her disillusionment with Jesus. “I want to know Jesus and I’ve been working so hard to spend time with him, but when I am with him my mind races with other things, my body grows restless and my soul doesn’t spark like it used too. I can feel my relationship with Jesus slipping into a lifeless routine and I don’t know what to do.”
Cara is experiencing a slow drift, once alive and overflowing in her relationship with Christ to now finding herself lonely and wandering through a spiritual desert. In reality she is not alone, she is joined by many Christ-followers who find themselves in similar spiritual deserts, thirsting for living water and longing to experience God’s presence once again.
So – how do we find bread and water to survive during these desert seasons?
Remember Your Story.
In the book of Revelation, Jesus rebukes the church of Ephesus for being forgetful. “Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you a fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first”.
Over and over again through the Scripture, God reminds his people to remember how he has saved them. These memories are meant to be sustenance for us when we are starving and hungry in the desert. These memories are the morsels that keep us alive when we are feeling disillusioned, distant and struggling. So remember!
Where have you seen God at work in the past?
When is the last time you heard his voice? What did he say?
Remembering your story will sustain you in the desert.
Pursue those who have gone before.
One of the main characteristics that keeps us in the desert is apathy. You know that numbing feeling you get, when it feels as if your heart has gone cold? When we become apathetic, we are no longer hungry or thirsty and have lost motivation to seek, search and find a way out of the desert. In this space we need something to jump start our cold heart. We need to fall in love with Jesus again. In these deserts we need the stories of saints that have gone before us. Reading biographies of men and women who witnessed and experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ can create a spark in our hearts and make us hungry and thirsty for the same in our own lives.
Live in the mud hut with Don Richardson as he shares Christ with the indigenous in Africa.
Take the flight with Bruce Olsen to bring peace to aboriginals in South America.
Fight the darkness with Jackie Pullinger as she uses the gospel to transform the addicted.
Sit down with an old saint, someone who has journeyed with Jesus for a long time, and ask them to share their story with you over coffee. (your treat!)
I pray that as we remember Jesus in the desert seasons and as we seek to find Him in other people that the Holy Spirit will use these tools to quench our thirst and fill our stomachs and sustain us for the journey ahead.