Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why God Sends Dry Spells

What happens when you enter a dark, dark time when you feel like God is only frowning at you and you can never please Him? When you feel like He is always just beyond your reach? When you seek Him so hard and all you get is reminders of your sin? When you confess and repent until it seems like you're just repeating the same things with no real purpose or meaning? When you pray and it feels like you're talking to yourself? When God seems unknowable? When you don't feel His love and don't see how He could love you? When you know this is all wrong and you have to find a way out, but there just doesn't seem to be any way at all? When you know that if there was one, you wouldn't deserve it, so why would God let you find it anyhow? When you begin to doubt that you are even His child?

I don't really know the answer. But this is how I have felt in the last few weeks. So dry. So far from God. With no idea what to do yet a deep longing for some relief, I kept on with my devotions and my prayers. Where was God? Why didn't He help me? Or why should He help me? Don't I always forget about Him and seek my own way? Don't I always choose my pet sins over Him whenever I think I can get away with it?

This is the amazing thing.

He DID help me!!! After several weeks of this had passed, He spoke comforting words to me at just the times I was most desperate. He led me to a book, Living Purely in an Impure World, and showed me through it that I was legalistically trying to earn His love by living purely rather than rejoicing in His love and learning to truly love Him in return.

He led me to an online article in "Daughterhood by Design" about having a new heart. I had asked for one, but it didn't feel like He had given it to me. The article said to walk in faith, believing that He had. So I did. And as I walked this way, it soon became apparent that my struggles with sin were a little easier to win. Oh, and I could look back and see how this had been true over the past few weeks since I had begun praying for a new heart. He had given it to me after all! Then some of the songs in church reassured me even more - "Are You Washed in the Blood?," especially.

Last night as I read Mr. Binney's book on pure living in today's world, he talked of three causes for a deer's thirst - a long run, a strenuous battle, or a dry spell. Could that be what God was doing? Did He see that I was getting too complacent? Allowing a dry spell so that I would have to seek Him so diligently it hurt? Did He know that I needed this in order to truly delight in Him?

Of course He knew! He is my kind Father, and He was teaching me with the same care - no, far more care! - that my earthly father would. So what is different? Talking to God comes much more easily now. I was doing so much of it in my desperation! Victory comes more easily. Joy is more natural. Love is easier to give. I know for sure that God is my Father, that He is good, and that He loves me.

What more could I ask?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Will Your Children Be on Death Row?

The other day I came across an interesting statistic. According to Susan Sikes with News From the Nest, a survey of 200 questions was given to death row inmates.

What do you think they had in common?

1 - Their families didn't eat together.

2 - Their families didn't play games together.

Wow! To me these things seem so simple, so commonplace. I guess you could say I have mostly taken those blessings for granted. But that's what they are - blessings! If your parents ate with you and played games with you, then you are richly blessed! :)

Oh, and if you're a parent, these are definitely some good ideas to consider. Even if you're "too busy," just try taking little steps at first. Like eating one meal together each week, and playing one game of UNO or basketball or whatever your family might enjoy. If you love your family, make time for them. These activities are truly great memory makers, and you will never regret it!

Neither will your children, by the way!