Have you ever experienced a season of your life when the Bible felt dry? While in seminary a few years ago, I had some of the most wonderfully brilliant Bible teachers in the world of theology uncovering the beauty of the Scriptures to me daily. I was taking Bible and ministry classes and surrounded by the teaching of God's Word. My homework and assignments were often to read passages or even whole books of the Bible. God's Word was woven throughout my days from beginning to end. It was an incredible blessing to enjoy the richness of the Scriptures in such a concentrated way.
A few classes into my second year, I felt like I had run straight into a brick wall. Although I was reading my Bible and studying it in class, I was struggling to implant it and be impacted by it. I would sometimes glance through the pages, untouched by the treasure that lay before me, just to complete a reading assignment. Of all the times it has brought me great comfort and joy, I had fallen into a dry spell. I had become complacent in my study of Scripture. I had not sought to cultivate my knowledge for God, but instead sought to accumulate knowledge for myself. As I'd come to realize this reality, I felt trapped in the blurred academic lens of viewing it.
Maybe you're not in seminary, but maybe you're still struggling with the same thing. Maybe you've been in ministry for years and your vision has blurred. Maybe the circumstances that surround you have clouded your view of Scripture. Maybe isolation has crept in and you feel distant from God and others. If you are limping along or if God's Word feels dry, I want to share a few things I learned from that season. If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that we need God's Word. We cannot rest or find comfort without it.
If you are grappling with reading your Bible, keep reading it. Don't take a break and don't put it to the side. Yes, you can give yourself a change of scenery, a quiet space, an outside view or a new coffee shop. But those things are not necessary or sustainable for the continued pursuit of God's Word. Sometimes it will mean listening to an audio Bible while folding laundry and doing chores, reading while up late nursing, or reading on your lunch break. We don't need a perfect setting to enjoy the Bible, because we have a perfect God who will meet us there every time. Even when we don't feel it piercing our hearts and minds with truth, it is. As you continue to wrestle through your thoughts, return time and time to the pages of the Bible. His faithfulness to us is not contingent on what we feel. And we must seek to remain faithful despite what we feel. He will never stop meeting us in the Scriptures. Even if we don't see the fruit of it until months or years later, His words are being planted deep. His Word will never return empty and will always accomplish what He proposes it to (Isaiah 55:11).
When the Bible feels dry, ask for help. In prayer, honestly and continually come before the Lord with your concerns and requests. Making them known to Him often helps us to acknowledge our own weakness and draw from His strength. We know that God is our greatest help. Shouldn't that lead us to ask Him for it in times of need?
Ask others for help. It can be hard to share when we are struggling to delight in God's Word, but handing over our pride is worth it. The answer to my own prayer was almost overlooked as a couple of women from my church initiated reading God's Word together. This was as simple as it could've been. We met together, read a passage, talked about it, and then concluded our time in prayer. We came together fairly consistently - sometimes in our homes, sometimes in a coffee shop, and sometimes squeezing in a conversation after Sunday service. The more I was reading the Bible with these women, the more captivating it was becoming. I was reminded by their thoughts and interpretations, how much power the Scriptures held to individually speak to us and personally transform us. I was reminded of its goodness when I witnessed Truth comforting them. I was reminded of its faithfulness when God continued to meet me in His Word.
Asking for help is certainly better than trying to figure it out alone. Books and resources are wonderful, but a person can step into your life. A person can run the race alongside you, holding you accountable and helping you to pursue godliness and faithfulness. The long-term effects of reaching out to another for help is far more lasting than the discomfort you might feel from asking. God created community because He knew we needed it to help one another along. We are wise to invite others in for help.
Lastly, when you are searching to be spiritually quenched, sit under the teaching of God's Word. Sit under the teaching of your local church pastor. Commit to Sunday mornings and to gathering together with God's people to hear from God's Word. Continue attending your Bible study gatherings. Our inclination might be to remove ourselves until we feel spiritually adept. Instead, immerse yourself into a body of believers that desire and delight in caring for you. Allow your local church to take on your burden. Continue to serve and to bear the burdens of others, too. Satan would love for you to run from God and the church. He would love for you to neglect God's Word. He works best in our isolation. But, be reminded by Hebrews 10:24 of the call to, "consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds." And we receive this encouragement best from one another by not neglecting meeting together, but encouraging one another, and all the more as we see the day approaching (verse 25).
When God's Word feels dry, let your thirst for it only propel you closer to God and His people. May His true and lasting Word always get the final say in our hearts. And for Christians, have hope, it will.