On my email update last week, I asked people to reply with a question. I got several good ones. But the best question I got came in the form of Facebook Messenger. I’m horrible with Facebook Messenger. I never check it, mainly because I don’t know how to use it. But I opened it up the other day to find this question.
What do you do when your faith runs dry? When you read books and listen to sermons and pray and you get nothing out of it? And you even start to doubt the whole thing?
This is actually a great place to be in. Not satisfied with how things are, you are realizing a need for a change.
Several years ago, I met Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski. Somebody recommended that I read his book. I read that book and then another one by his coauthor Dan DeHaan called The God You Can Know. This was one of the most life changing books I’ve ever read. In getting excited about that book, I realized that it had been YEARS since I’d been excited about my faith.
Having a realization like this is a good thing. It’s a sign of a growing faith.
Here are a couple of thoughts in response to the question:
1) It could be just human emotions. We experience things in waves and seasons. You might be really excited about the things of God for a while and then get sort of bored with it. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis talks about a plant that looks dead on the outside but is actually growing on the inside. It is often that way with faith as well. In this case, it might cycle back around on its own, but I wouldn’t chance it. Instead I would pray and ask God to give you a new resolve in your faith and a new excitement for spiritual things.
2) It could be a sin thing. When I say “sin” I don’t necessarily mean something major. Maybe at some point recently you’ve felt a prompting from the Holy Spirit that you need to forgive somebody and for whatever reason you didn’t heed it. Again, I would pray that God would reveal to you if there’s somewhere in your life where you’re missing the mark. Oswald Chambers mentions this concept in My Utmost for his Highest.
3) It could be that God is allowing you to go through a dry spell to strengthen your faith. There’s a phenomenon called the “dark night of the soul” that is well documented. I know Richard Foster discusses it in Celebration of Discipline. In this case you just need to trust God that he is using this time for your greater good, to help you put away a childish emotional faith and move into the spiritual depths.
That’s my answer. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it as well. Feel free to use the comments below to discuss.
(Photo is from my family’s 2015 RV trip out west. I think this was taken outside of Page, AZ)