Lush vegetation shoots up to the sky, while clear turquoise water creates soft waves underneath the boat. I am in Nicaragua on a mission trip and kayak alone on a lake near my hotel. A hymn comes to mind as I push the oar, moving further into solitude.
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see
This was one of those rare moments we get in life where the Lord felt so close to me that I thought I could reach out and touch His hand. These mountain top moments, as we call them, are beautiful and significant. Sometimes they last a minute, and others last for months or even years. Inevitably, they do end. Then we enter a different season, where it might seem He is slightly farther away or even completely absent. Our times of worship, prayer, or reading the Bible feel dry. We don’t seem to be learning or growing in the faith. God, for whatever reason, appears to have turned His face away from us. In these times, it can be difficult to want to open our Bibles because we do not know if or when that season will end.
King David had his fair share of dry spells in his relationship with God. After being anointed as the new king of Israel, he is chased out of his home by the current king, Saul. For years he lived in the wilderness to avoid capture, and was unable to go to the temple and offer sacrifices to God or hear His Word.
David wrote Psalm 13 about a time of despair when God appears distant. Verses 1–2 say, “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will I store up anxious concerns within me, agony in my mind every day? How long will my enemy dominate me?” David, who was known as a man after God’s heart, was in deep turmoil and cried out to God. Sometimes we try to hide our pain from God and His Church because we don’t want others to see our weakness, or we think it is a sin to be upset with God. Yet, in the book that God Himself inspired, we see countless examples of godly men and women weeping their lament to the Father. If we hunger for God’s presence, we should start by admitting our longing for it.
Even when God feels far, we can cling to the truth that He is always near. Jesus left heaven to be close to us. He lived as one of us and died in our place so that we could have eternal life with Him. Because of that, there is nothing in this world that can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:31–39).
If you do find yourself in a dry season with God, consider these ways to draw near.
- Find a quiet, comfortable place to be with Him that is away from technology, people, or unfinished tasks.
- Before you open your Bible, take a deep breath and sit in silence for a moment. Give yourself time to settle into your time with God.
- Consider why you are spending this time with Him. Too often, we view our relationship with God transactionally. We read His Word, say a set amount of prayers, and then walk away expecting Him to do something great within us as His part of the contract. Not only can that routine grow boring quickly, but it also misses the purpose of time with God. This is a time to build a relationship with a God who deeply loves you. There are no expectations of what you have to put in or what He should produce in you. Rather, it is a time to enjoy a chat with a Father, King, and friend.
- Pray that God would change you and reveal Himself to you in new ways during your time.
God is always close, living inside the hearts of those who follow Him. When we cannot feel His presence, we must remind ourselves that He is still there. David does this in Psalm 13:5–6. “But I have trusted in your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in your deliverance. I will sing to the Lord because he has treated me generously.” God is always loving and always good, whether we feel it in a moment or not. Let us put our trust in who He is no matter the circumstance.