O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
~ Psalm 63:1
Yesterday I had the privilege to spend part of the day with a Christian Pastor from Pakistan who is receiving treatment for an illness here in the United States. He shared some of the experiences he has had in his ministry. Some were very frightening, including the arrest and torture of colleagues, who dared to preach the Gospel in the Muslim country.
"Even when God wasn't being obvious, God was still present."
He shared that since coming to this country for treatment, his spirit has experienced some very "dry" moments. His heart's desire is to be out serving God, but his body is reminding him that he is very human.
He told me, "I now understand why it is that Jesus had to go off to pray. It wasn't that he was seeking solace, it was that he was tired, and his body needed a break."
I believe we all experience dry periods in our spiritual lives. Sometimes we find it hard to pray, or feel like we are experiencing God's present, or find that worship just isn't fulfilling some spiritual need. It's hard not to look at God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as something distant or "up there."
He reminded me that these feelings and thoughts are just feelings and thoughts, and that the Spirit of God dwells beyond our feelings and thoughts.
He went on to share that the great grace of God is that we are able to experience God's presence in our feelings and thoughts, but when we don't, it does not mean that God is absent. It means that God's voice is calling us louder! "God is calling us to greater faithfulness!"
What I have realized from my Pakistani brother is that in times of spiritual dryness or God's silence, we must hold on to our spiritual disciplines so that we may grow into a greater and deeper intimacy with God.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Dear God, in the silence, may my spiritual self seek You, and understand how it is that You are always there for me. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.