You know what I'm talking about.
Sometimes it hits us emotionally, sometimes physically, sometimes mentally – (OK, in my case, OFTEN mentally…)
Times when we just feel dried up.
When our feelings are numb, when our bodies are weary, when thoughts and words don't come easily.
As a writer, it can be quite devastating.
I read a blog last week about this very thing (Elaine at Peace For the Journey). Oh, how I identified with her heartfelt words. But, we all know that empty feeling – when life seems to come to a screeching halt. When mountaintop moments come crashing back to earth. When our soaring faith hits a downdraft. When the cool and refreshing waters that flowed in us and through us and all around us, suddenly dry up.
On my travels, I've seen canyons that were carved by mighty waters. Carved by great rivers that plunged through the surrounding countryside, moving boulders and trees and many tons of dirt – rivers that changed the landscape. Powerful waters that made something big happen.
I've seen the evidence that the waters were once there.
But now those canyons are dry and dusty.
So, just like in life, I am left with this question – Where did the water go???
Sometimes I think God allows us to feel "dried up" once in awhile so we take the time to rest physically. I've been fighting some sort of respiratory thing this week – not sick enough to stay in bed, but not good enough to be out and about. I'm sorta enjoying the time to slow down – to give myself an excuse just to read and lay on the couch. I know that God is near, and I have a feeling that big things are on the horizon – but for now, a "dry place" is just what the doctor ordered, I think.
And that's OK – this is a sort of restful dry place, if you know what I mean. There's peace in taking some time off from life.
It's the *other* dry place that isn't so good…
Dryness is disturbing. It isn't comfortable. It's unsettling. We quite honestly want it to end. We mourn the loss of full and joyous feelings. We yearn for strong and energetic bodies (younger bodies???). We hunger for quick and easy words, for thoughts that tumble out faster than we can think or write them.
We ache for the waters.
And so, I've been thinking about the waters – and about the dry places. Not really wanting to sound cliché about it all.
Just this morning, a new thought came to me – that there's a big difference between being "dried up" and being "used up."
Fortunately, with God I am never used up. As long as I turn my heart completely over to Him, and keep my eyes firmly focused on Him, He can use me. Now, the greater challenge is knowing that when I'm dried up – there is also purpose in that.
We're not alone, you know.
Look at how many of His followers – Moses and Jesus, just to name two – were prepared for the Lord's work by FIRST visiting the wilderness.
I think it has something to do with the solitude and the stillness. In the dry places of life, we are quiet enough to hear the Lord speak.
But there is also a promise in the dry places. And that is the promise of life.
Beautiful life – even though it might be *camouflaged* a bit. I've done a bit of research on cacti – (trust the English major – it isn't cactuses). They are amazing plants. But one thing really stood out to me about how they survive in the desert.
"They may not get much moisture where they live, but they manage to make the most of what they do get."
I don't know about you – but I just loved that!
Cacti survive, and they actually thrive, because of their taproots – roots that find and store water. Roots that connect to groundwater – (groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations).
"The Hub" and I have often visited Joshua Tree National Park – and I have found an austere beauty in the desert. And I truly believe that there are many lessons to be learned in the "dry places" – things of beauty that God can only reveal when our spirits are longing for Him. Special revelations that can only come – not when we're just thirsty – but when we are parched.
So, I'm asking myself today…
Do I have enough faith to abide quietly in the dry places?
Am I willing to find meaning in the solitude?
Can I trust that God has a purpose when the waters dry up?
It's a matter of taproots, I think.
Taproots that connect firmly to the groundwater of Living Water. Roots that actively search for God in the "soil pore spaces" and in the "fractures of rock formations." Roots that seek Him – that finger out into the empty places, and know that He is there.
He promises He will meet us.
"But from there you will search…for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him." (Deuteronomy 4:29)
"'If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,' says the LORD." (Jeremiah 29:13, 14)
"Keep on seeking, and you will find…Everyone who seeks, finds."
(Matthew 7:7, 8)
Will I choose to believe that there is life in the dry places?
Trust me, cactus flowers do indeed bloom in the desert!
Are you in a dry place? How can you tap into the Living Water?
(SIDENOTE:) "The Hub" shares this quotation from "On Desert Trails" by Randall Henderson:
"The real desert is not for the eyes of the superficial observer or the fearful soul...It is a land which reveals its true character only to those who come with courage, tolerance, and understanding. For these, the desert holds rare gifts...each season sends forth blossoms of exquisite coloring as symbols of courage that triumphed over appalling obstacles...to those who come [to the desert] with courage, it gives new strength of character."
Thirsty? Join me at Joan's GRACE CAFE!
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"