Desert Encounters – A Word from Dr. Mike

The Christian life would be absolutely amazing if each believer experienced on-going spiritual revival every day for the rest of one’s life. Unfortunately, that idealism is not realism. 

The Christian life consists of seasons of comfort and ease, as well as times of difficult circumstances. Every Christian is different spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically. We all do not react the same way when we encounter adversity. 

But we can all confess as Christians that we have experienced seasons of “spiritual dryness.” Our spiritual vitality is non-existent, and we simply find ourselves “going through the motions” of the Christian life. 

In Psalm 42:1-22, David provides a remedy to spiritual dryness. 

In verses 1-2, David is spiritually thirsty because he is spiritually dry. Just as a thirsty deer longs for a drink of water, David longs for a satisfying and gratifying experience with GOD he once enjoyed. “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O GOD. My soul thirsts for GOD, for the living GOD.” 

Have you ever traveled through a desert? On a family vacation out west in 1998, my family and I drove through the “Painted Desert” in Arizona. Driving through that section of the country, we thought that name was odd – the only color the desert was painted was brown! 

That desert was a very dry and desolate place. It was an apt picture of what David looked like on the “inside.” 

We encounter desert experiences in our lives that leave us dry, thirsty, and desperate as well: 

· A marriage that has lost its emotion, and the couple’s relationship has become distant. 

· An employee has been terminated from his/her job. 

· A person receives the diagnosis of a terminal disease. 

· A believer loses the spiritual vitality of his/her life and the joy of his/her salvation because of personal sin. 

David expresses his spiritual dryness in verses 2-3: “When shall I come and appear before GOD? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say, “Where is Your God?” 

Imagine yourself lost in the desert: 

· A barren place 

· Bleak 

· Arid 

· Hot 

· You can’t find your way out 

· You are so dry – so thirsty 

David, who longed for a refreshing drink of water, instead tasted the bitter water of his own tears. He was spiritually “on empty,” which let him to be distraught. 

Compounding his own personal struggles, David’s enemies also taunted him with the words, “Where is your GOD?” These words echoed in his heart. 

Have you ever been in a cave and said something in a loud voice? You heard the words echo through the cave. Well, David heard these words echo in his soul: “Where is your GOD?” “Where is your GOD?” “Where is your GOD?” Sadly, as David tearfully struggled through his trial, he had NO answer. 

In this trial, David mourned continually. According to verse 3, his tears were his food day and night. Deep in despair, David lost his spiritual vitality because of his trials. He experienced spiritual barrenness! 

In his deep spiritual struggle and dryness, he remembers his past close relationship with GOD. Verse 4 says, “When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of GOD, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.” 

So, in verse 5, as David wrote this verse, he reflected back on a very dark and depressing seasons in his life. He thought about his 

· Drought 

· Distress 

· Dejection 

· Doubt 

· Despair 

· Depression 

In the midst of all of the negative stuff David experienced, he could say in verse 5, “Hope in GOD.” Deep down in his soul, David always knew this answer. But his present pain in the midst of the trial obscured this marvelous spiritual truth: “Hope in GOD.” 

R. C. Sproul wrote these words on the subject of hope: 

“Hope is called the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19), because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ (I wish that such-and-such would take place); rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future GOD has made.” 

Timothy Keller was right: “Because of JESUS – there is always hope, even in the darkest moments of your life.” 

I am reminded of the promise of Isaiah 44:3a: “I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground…” 

Pastor Mike

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