Spoiler Alert: the next paragraph is going to reveal how old and dated the author of this blog is.
Growing up, one of my weekly highlights was getting to watch BBC’s Planet Earth. Each week my photographer’s heart would beat a little faster as the cinematography captured a stunning, uninhabited part of the planet. My love of animals came alive as saw Birds of Paradise, watched lions chase full-grown elephants, heard the deep sound of alligators, the list goes on and on. Of all the episodes I watched, “Great Plains” was especially captivating. Watching “Great Plains,” I learned that during certain parts of the year parts of the African savanna become devoid of all color except tan. The only noise comes from the lonely, frightening sound of dust storms. For a season the African savanna is like a two-hour college lecture–boring!
Have you experienced a spiritual dry season when your relationship with God is devoid of all color and noise, when it’s boring, when it seems like God is distant; when it seems like your prayers are not heard? I know I have. How do we get through dry season?
The short answers to this question can be found on the Bible: get rid of distractions and persist.
THE LONG ANSWER
Getting through dry seasons involves getting rid of distractions.
Growing up I had a Golden Retriever who I’d take to training classes at Pets Mart so she’d learn to respond to my command “heel.” Eventually, Angel would synchronize with my ambulation by keeping her front paws right beside my heel, being neither too far behind me or too far in front of me.
I’ve seen some dogs who’ve masters the technique so well that they can “heel” without being on a leash. These songs are so devoted to their masters that they surrender everything to “heel” across busy streets, through neighborhoods with cats, and through parks packed with other dogs. Occasionally, there will be that one dog who strays from his two footed friend’s heel to chase a squirrel or snag a stick, but even in these instances a mere “heel” will send the dog running back to his friend.
There have been times in my life when I’ve become destructed by guys, Marvel Movies, and other so-called “sticks.” Usually my distraction leads to a dry season and the only way out is to “heel” next to Jesus. At first I did not want to respond to my friend’s summons. I felt like surrendering would be to go into time out–the time of time out dogs experience when they have to go on a leash and lose their freedom. As it turned out, the closer I drew to Jesus the more contentment I experienced; it sounds odd, but the distractions in my life became nothing compared to the pleasure of walking beside Jesus and the freedom I thought I’d lose was found.
1 Chronicles 28: talks about what happens when you seek to be close to Jesus with a whole heart (sans distractions). It says “He will be found by you.” That means if you lay aside any distractions, Jesus will reveal Himself to you in the midst of your desert season.
Getting through dry seasons involves persistence.
Luke 18:1-8 describes a parable Jesus told about a widow and a judge. Now this judge was very unjust and whenever the widow begged him for justice, he recused. This went on for some time until the judge finally relented because of the widows persistence. Jesus used this illustration to encourage His followers to pray persistently.
The Bible has much more to say on the topic of persistence. Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened (NLT).”
Psalm 105:4 says “Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him (NLT).”
Proverbs 8:17 says, “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me (NLT).
What is the common thread interwoven throughout these verses? In my dry seasons I persisted by continually being in conversation with God and continually reading the Bible to be reminded of Him.
THE GOOD NEWS
Dry seasons don’t last forever. The reason I found the Planet Earth episode “Great Plains” so captivating was because the dry spell in the Savannah is only for a time–a season. Eventually the rain returns bringing color and vivacity.
The parable in Luke 8:1-8 is a reminder that sometimes dry seasons are a result of our faith being put under pressure to see if we are truly loyal to Jesus.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
If you desire to seek Jesus in your dry season, however dull and distant your relationship seems, Jesus will honor your desire and eventually your dry season will end.