Here we are, the second month of the year. Store aisles are decorated with pink hearts and velvet candy boxes, yet somehow it feels like that final calendar page never quite flipped. Many of us might describe this past year with short phrases punctuated by big emotional words and the acknowledgment that there seems to be no end in sight. I don’t know about you, but all of the change, all of the feelings felt or pushed down deep, each moment of anxiety or doubt, has left me spiritually dry. Not empty or broken, but noticeably brittle. Grounded in faith but weathered around the edges like I’ve stood too close to the sun. Tender and longing for calmer, soothing waters.
Expressing love can be a challenge in this season. Already tired and chaffed, the intimate care and feeding of our family and friends can create in us impatience or irritability. Even small tasks can seem daunting in their effort. Our first instinct may be to retreat inside ourselves. It only takes a split second to rely on the endless loop of internal dialogue when the world has left us speechless. In our retreat, when our initial reflex is self-preservation, love can feel inadequate in the face of anxiety and sadness.
How do we nourish a soul wrung dry by external pressure and influences?
First, we can be confident that when we experience a dry season, God will use it as an opportunity to refine and strengthen us. Scripture may sound flat to our ears and worship out of tune, but the truth of God’s word is not dependent on our feelings. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness and fasted forty days and forty nights, at the end of that time He was understandably hungry. But when taunted to turn stone into bread, He instead replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Friends, there is no shortcut to cure what ails us spiritually. Scripture is soul food.
For better or worse, the world will continue to change. Many of those changes will have a lasting impact on our families and communities for generations to come. Many of us will feel like strangers in a foreign land and it will test not only our resolve but the endurance of our faith. We must remain engaged and we must love as the Bible instructs, not as the world dictates.
“…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Eph 4:2-3
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
I am reminded that the process of drying is often necessary to preserve what is good. It can also lead to transformation, the same way wheat is dried, ground to dust, and made new specifically for our nourishment. Be encouraged, friends, that God walks alongside us in this season. We are not forsaken or forgotten, in fact, He gave us His word to combat every fear and remind us of the eternal, everlasting gift of His love.