“But forget all that – it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:18-19.
Spiritual ruts, dry spells, periods of stagnancy: most Christians experience these at one time in their lives. Whether it is a season of busyness or a time of negative circumstances, you wake up and realize that we are not as close to God as we want to be. Day after day, sermon after sermon, small group after small group, prayer after prayer, we find ourselves discouraged and frightened by a widening gap between our desired relationship with God and the one we are actually experiencing.
Ruts often occur because we default to thinking that God is big, and therefore removed, distant, and has better things to do than care about our daily anxieties. “Yes, I know He cares about me. He cares about everyone. But right now I feel like there is a chasm between God and me.” The beauty of God’s love is that it survives spiritual dry times. Don’t let the lie sink into your mind that spiritual dryness indicates that God has lost interest in you or has decided that you are expendable. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most faithful and happiest Christians in history have experienced days of being in a spiritual rut.
It is at these times that we need to remember that God loves you so much. He loves you and He is with you on the mountaintop and in the valley. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
The first thing I need to do when I’m in a spiritual rut is to pick up my Bible and read it. The Word of God is living and active. It is there to help grow and strengthen us. Too often, we complicate it and act like Bible reading is only helpful if we have the right study method or reading plan or are in the right frame of mind when we open the Bible. But the beautiful thing about God’s Word is, it doesn’t depend on us – it depends on Him. He is faithful to work when we are half asleep in the morning or when we can’t sleep in the early hours of the night. Make daily time in the Word of God a priority when you are in a spiritual rut.
Then pray to reopen communication. Your words, they don’t need to be perfect. You do not need eloquence and you certainly don’t need an audience. Because when it is quiet, your audience of One, the One who knows each hair on your head and moment, unrecognized by anyone else, when your heartbeat it first beat and filled your veins with life-sustaining blood, knows you are there. Prayer isn’t to acquaint God with what’s happening in our lives, it’s to remind yourself that God is desperately involved in each moment of our existence. Remind yourself of that and take time, perhaps every morning before you get out of bed and at the end of each day, to begin a habit of prayer.
When you are in periods of spiritual stagnancy when you feel stuck in a rut, press into God. Ask Him to reveal Himself anew to you and to strengthen you with His mercy. We are promised that His mercy is new every morning and that He will come to those who call on Him.
- What constitutes being in a spiritual rut in your mind?
- Do you feel spiritually stuck in a rut, stagnant, going through the motions, too comfortable? How did you move past it?
- How can prayer be a catalyst for moving out of a spiritual rut?