What I’m Learning from Spiritual Dryness

Right now I’m spiritually dry. In the past spiritual dry spells caused a lot of interior doubt: ‘Do I really believe?’ ‘Am I apathetic?’ ‘Is God punishing me for a sin?’ ‘Where did I fail?’ But I recently realized something by looking at those recurring questions. When I’m spiritually dry I blindly wonder ‘what must I do?’, rather than simply asking God ‘ will youwater my soul?’

When I focus solely on what I do, I miss the point. God is not waiting for me to stumble upon a magical method to eliminate my dryness. He is not looking for techniques, special prayers, or asceticism. In fact, he wants the opposite. He wants me to look to his grace.

You see, spiritual dryness is a natural part of our spiritual lives. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be distressed when we’re spiritually dry. No, we should. But if we feel no longing for our spiritual thirst to be quenched, then we’re spiritually apathetic, not spiritually dry. In spiritual apathy we do not thirst for God, instead we live in directionless malaise that hardly treasures God. In true spiritual dryness we join the psalmist, saying, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” We are a parched desert that can only be quenched by the ocean of God’s grace. Therefore, we must remain unsatisfied in our dryness, because we trust that our treasure–God–will restore us.

You see, spiritual dryness is a grace, because when we’re dry, we most poignantly feel our need for God. His blessings feel transparent when our lives overflow with them. We’re like fish in the ocean, who don’t see the water. Spiritually dryness prevents us from overlooking the source of life; we rightly sense our desperate need for spiritual water.

So what can I do, now that I’m spiritually dry? Go to the well of spiritual water. Jesus said, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). Jesus gives us living water, and he promises to satisfy us in a way that secures our eternal satisfaction in him.

Know your need. You cannot attain this water alone. Look to the living well.

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About Patrick K. Miller

Currently I am living in Columbia serving at the University of Missouri with Veritas, The Crossing's campus ministry. In December 2010 I graduated from Mizzou with a degree in English Literature. My beautiful wife, Emily, works is an Interior Designer with a local firm. I like espresso, 30 Rock, and books. My favorite old dead guys are John Owen, Augustine and Francis Schaeffer. You should read something by them.
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