Prelude: A Note from the Geeky Pastor
The title of this blog post is full of meaning. Not lost on me is the fact that my blog has gone through a…well…drought. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve posted anything and although I could lay down excuses, let’s just say it’s time for the blogging drought to come to an end. It’s not that I have more time. This is probably the busiest season of planting Harvest Fort Wayne as we are nearing our launch day (Sept. 23rd, 2012). It’s just that I’ve found my motivation and desire for blogging again. Ideas are coming and I ‘m eager to share some fo the lessons God has taught me through this process. There are also several tech tips that have been very helpful. So…let the blog downpour again!
“The End of a Drought”
It rained all night long and my dry lawn was grateful. I know because sections that had been brown and withered are now starting to show a little green. It had been a long time since the last rain…months in fact. And the smell of fresh rain, and feel of warm water on my skin, and the relief that it brought made me very glad for the end the drought. Droughts are hard…but that’s what makes the rain at the end of a drought so sweet.
Have you ever experienced a spiritual drought? Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt dry, barren, and desolate spiritually? Perhaps it was due to an unconfessed, ongoing sin struggle. Perhaps it was an intense time of trial. Or maybe you experienced what many Bible teachers call “the dark night of the soul”…a time when God just seems distant. Here’s the joyful news…there will be an end to the drought…and the spiritual rain will be very sweet.
Consider this from Hosea…
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 3 Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hos. 6:1-3)
God Provides the Reasons for Drought
Droughts are HARD. Look at the words in this text; “torn,” “stuck down.” There is nothing pleasant about being torn and struck down. And the text is clear..GOD has allowed those times in our lives. HE tore us…HE struck us down. This is a difficult truth to understand, but the reason is coming. Just know this first…droughts are NOT EASY.
As a pastor and biblical counselor, I’ve walked with many people through some of the most difficult times of their lives; sickness, wayward children, difficult marriages. And very often people feel guilty for struggling. “There are people going through worse things than this,” I’ve heard several times. And though that may be true, don’t miss what’s happening. God has custom designed this trial for you…for your heart struggles and your faith issues. This drought is designed by God to stretch you in your specific areas of life…and therefore it’s HARD.
Further more, it’s OK that it’s hard. The church in America over the past several decades has developed a culture where it seems wrong to struggle. Most people come to church and they fake as if life is going easy. They may be bound by sin or in a time of deep depression, but they will never let on. We’ve created a culture where it is NOT OK to not be OK…but that is not the picture the Bible paints. David struggled often and shared that truth openly in the songs he wrote (Psalms). Elijah doubted, Moses faltered…great men of God questioned God during their seasons of drought. Our droughts are HARD…on purpose…and I want you to hear me to tell you it’s OK to not be OK. Just don’t stay here. Because God has a REASON for the drought.
Droughts HEAL. Look at the text again. God clearly reveals the REASONS for the drought…He want so HEAL us.
We have sick hearts (Jer. 17:9). We have longings and desires that we believe will bring us joy and fulfillment. Only GOD can bring that, but often fail to realize that truth. And since our hearts are not only diseased but also deceitful, we often fail to realize the sinful desires of our hearts. But times of drought have a way of brining those things to surface.
This church planting process has revealed to me just how deep the root of the fear of man goes into my heart. As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve struggled with fear in this process…big time. And that time of fearful drought forced me to really evaluate my heart. Why was I so fearful? What was I really fearing? For me the root of my fear became evident…I feared failing and looking bad. It was the same root I’ve struggled with many times…the fear of man. Though I believed I was getting victory over that struggle, this drought season showed me it was much, much deeper than I ever realized.
Knowing that, I’ve had some sweet times with God confessing, memorizing, growing through it…God used the drought time to heal my heart. I’m sure I have a long way to go still, but this time of healing is so important and precious. As I’ve grown deeper in my walk with Him, it’s given me a joy and thankfulness for the season of drought. Drought heal…praise God.
God Promises the Rain after the Drought
I love the picture Hosea draws in this text…the downpour of rain…the deluge…the abundant, nourishing, life-giving rain after a season of drought. THAT’S how God comes to us! Notice that this is a PROMISE given in such a way that it erases doubt. “As sure the dawn”…the SUN will shine tomorrow. It WILL happen…no question. And God WILL SHOW UP to end your season of drought. And when He comes, it’s going to be refreshing and abundant!
What are you going through right now? Are you experiencing a spiritual drought? Does God seem distant? Does your spiritual life seem barren? What do you do? Here’s what you do…”press on to know the Lord!” Don’t give up. Dont’ want away from Him…but press harder into Him. He WILL come. His blessing WILL return. And when it does, it was will sweet…like rain after a drought. You will once again drink fully of the fountain that gives eternal life and fully satisfies the soul (John 4). Your drought will end…and God will give abundant rain.