You Are Invited!
“Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)
Have you ever felt spiritually dry? Have you given so much of yourself that there is nothing left to give? If you have, you’re not alone. In fact, your experience is quite common among believers, especially those who serve and lead. This is especially true of those who minister to people in times of pain and crisis. The sense of hopelessness they feel and the sense of helplessness you feel in easing their suffering can leave your spiritual and emotional well empty.
What can you do when you are bone dry? Is the answer to withdraw? Should you insulate yourself from the neediness of those around you? Is detaching from the pain others are enduring the way to go? How about taking a vacation…or even a little nap? That sounds really good, but I can assure you, none of those actions will solve a thing. Let me suggest to you something else.
How about going deeper?
Phillip Yancey tells the story of his former pastor, Bill, who in the midst of a period of spiritual emptiness brought on by incessant draining ministry interactions, went on a spiritual retreat. In this retreat setting, he bared his soul to the spiritual director assigned to him. He talked about his heavy ministry schedule, how he was spiritually depleted, emotionally dry and had nothing more to give.
Bill expected his spiritual director, who happened to be a nun, to offer soothing words about what a sacrificial, unselfish pastor he was, or perhaps even recommend that he take a sabbatical. Instead she said, “Bill, there’s only one thing to do if your reservoir runs dry. You’ve got to go deeper.”
Bill returned from his retreat with a profound understanding that his faith and emotional energy depended less on his outward interactions than on his inner journey toward spiritual depth.
I think that’s what the Psalmist is telling us in his very first song: You’ve got to go deeper. God doesn’t promise you perpetual springtime, where the rain falls and the waters flow and the blossoms continually dot your spiritual landscape. Sometimes there is scorching summers and frigid winters. That’s when you’ve got to have roots that go way down deep to the unseen waters.
Listen to how David said it in Psalm 1:1-3,
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers!
Go deeper with God! Let your roots go so deep into the very source of life giving water and you will not only blossom in the springtime of God’s favor, but you will be nourished even in the summer of intense ministry heat and the frigid barrenness of spiritual winter.