Psalm 139:7-10 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
It’s easy to be faithful when we are in the moment with the Lord, when we know He’s right there with us and His peace envelops like a blanket surrounding our emotions and thoughts and spirit. Glorious! Indeed, glorious!
And then there are those desert times. Not so glorious. You know the times, right? They are the times you can still talk the talk but it sure doesn’t feel like you’re walking any real walk inside. And all you long for is to just be raw and real and find a soft place to fall. And you know God is that place but right now, your desires are for something other than the same ole, same ole thing with HIm. You want tangible. You want freedom to not be so “Christian” because you’re not feeling Christian in the- oh life is great- sense of the words.
Well but….. you are. You are living Christ in the dry place. True, we are to live in peace regardless of circumstances. But this peace isn’t necessarily filled with joy. Sometimes peace can only be found by centering, quieting our hearts and minds to shut out whatever the noise is that is driving us to dry. Sometimes we can have peace and still feel miserable.
Folks- dry is ALSO a God place. Dry is a stepping stone, a launching pad into change. When the LORD orders our dry places, it’s is so that we can wrestle in the strait jacket to figure out what’s missing, what’s off, and we can figure out how in the world to get out of dry. When dry is bad enough, we simply have to do something to wrestle out or we feel a suffocation of circumstances.
We are butterflies that go through cocoons to fly, over and over again, so many times we can’t count them, if we are truly growing. Busting out into newness and flying high across the sky is certainly a goal for which we strive. And oh man- soaring with eagles on the wind of the Spirit is worth struggling out of any cocoon.
Just remember- being in a cocoon where we feel ourselves smothering is just as much God as soaring is Him. Each cocoon is Him REVEALING a bondage to self, to the world, to something, for the purpose of us doing the work to bust out of it and into a soar. If He put us in a cocoon with ALL of our bondages at once and said- now go for it- then we would surely die because the weight of being surrounded by all the things that keep us from being just like Christ would be too much to bear, with zero freedom in sight.
So it is with gratitude that I find myself cocooning these days- struggling, wrestling, trying to discern what spiritual muscles He’s wanting me to grow or what molding of character He’s trying to accomplish. And yes, I am a much better listener being held tightly in a cocoon where I can only rely on His voice, than I am as I soar across the wind in freedom and peace.
I thank God for soaring. I thank God also for tight spaces, dry places, and strait jackets- because He knows it takes that for me to hear, to listen, to break inside, and to change. He’s not abandoned me. He is closer than ever when I feel farthest away from Him, in a cocoon.
And there’s the paradox. Surprise.
Please, be gentle with yourself when you are living in a cocoon. And, please be gentle with your brother or sister in Christ when they are in a dry place. It’s not a place of shame. It’s a hopeful place, a place of great potential. God resides in the desert, too.
Takeaway: Dry places are God places, too. It doesn’t mean we are off track. It can very well mean He is doing a new thing and we must work through, work out our spiritual muscles to learn who He is, and who we are not. Don’t be embarrassed by dry places. And don’t feel that you must deny it. It’s natural. It’s encouraging. it’s God. O.M.G. Can we please be real and not pretend that we are all soaring spiritually all the time? We remain in the palm of His hand. And we need not pretend.
Prayer: Father, I will praise you in the soaring times and in the cocoon times as well. I know that I don’t have to act all “spiritual” with you and pretend that I’m soaring when I’m doing anything BUT soaring. And You love me, You accept me, You ordered these days. I receive them without shame and without denial and thank You for loving me enough to position me for growth- to know You more. Be with me. Thank You that You will never leave me or forsake me. Thank You for Your grace. Help me to extend it to others and myself.