I’ve been spending the past several weeks focusing on this idea of spiritual dehydration – those seasons of life when your faith feels worn out and dried up. I want to recap this series and leave you with a final thought.
I started off by reminding you that your salvation in Christ provides no guarantee of the absence of spiritual dehydration. In fact, the Bible almost assures that your soul will experience it. Even the most valiant men and women of faith needed their soul strengthened and encouraged (Acts 14:22).
More significantly, Jesus experienced a moment when he didn’t want to take one more step. Remember in the Garden of Gethsemane? Jesus says, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” (Matthew 26:39)
Christ was spiritually exhausted; he wanted to give up! Yet he was the God-Man, and he continued on his own strength. Now, when we have nothing left, his power can be made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
After we defined spiritual dehydration and located our source of strength, we marked down three practical steps to take in these seasons of darkness. First, we learned to meditate on the quality and nature of God’s love; second, we learned to sing good theology; finally, we learned to pray honest prayers.
Now, I need to say something I wish wasn’t true. Here it is: there is no guarantee that your spiritual dehydration will ever leave or be quenched completely.
Maybe I should phrase it this way: even if you meditate on God’s love, sing good theology, and pray honest prayers, there’s a good chance you’ll experience spiritual dehydration all over again. Why do I say such a depressing thing? It’s right there in the Word of God.
Remember, these three practical steps are found in Psalm 42:8. It seems as if the author has found a solution to his dehydration, but verse 9 brings it crashing back down again: “I say to God, my rock: ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’”
How discouraging! It’s as if the Psalmist has climbed out of a dark cistern, only to fall back to the bottom again. But isn’t that the reality of your faith? It’s a dance between victory and defeat, a constant cycle of ups and downs.
Yet in the midst of all that spiritual turmoil, you have two steadfast reasons to remain encouraged. First, this discouraging Psalm is included in the Bible, which means God cares for you. He knows you’re going to experience seasons of difficulty, and he provides resources to help you in the midst of it.
Second, this Psalm is the narrative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was parched, oppressed, and forgotten by God. But He faced all those things so that in our moments of dehydration, we will have a high priest who is able to empathize with our weakness (Hebrews 4:15).
I wish I didn’t have to say that your dehydration may return, but that’s the reality of life in a fallen world for a sinner lacking a fully redeemed heart. There will be a day when you thirst no more (Revelation 21:4), but until then, you have many fountains of grace to keep you going.
Paul David Tripp
- How have you experienced spiritual dehydration?
- What has helped you most during seasons of dehydration?
- How has your life of faith been a dance between victory and defeat?
- Did you, or do you, have unrealistic expectations about the struggles of your faith?
- How can you minister to others struggling in seasons of spiritual dehydration?