Yesterday I began a response to Peter’s comment regarding low times in ministry. It is not at all uncommon for those giving out to get into situations where they are empty themselves. Yesterday I wrote about the prevention that can be done via good spiritual relational habits. I wrote briefly about curing a situation where the coldness has come in. Much more could be said, but here are three further factors to consider:
Spiritual Warfare. The enemy targets specific people at specific times. There is a spiritual warfare dynamic that we must not ignore. It could be that there is a spiritual warfare component in a time of discouragement or “coldness.” This is not always the primary issue, so directly addressing it and focusing on it cannot always be the primary cure. However, it is no coincidence that those seeking to build up other believers and see people saved from the kingdom of darkness face a whole variety of temptations and difficulties in life and ministry.
Divine Distance. I don’t like that title, but I can’t think of a better one right now. It seems that there are times when God is very clearly active and overt in His dealings with us. There seem to be other times when He may allow us to go through some form of dryness . . . perhaps because of the positive benefits of trials of various kinds in respect to our spiritual growth and maturity (Rom.5, James 1, etc.) I’m not going to develop this theologically here, but simply recognize that negative situations could be spiritual warfare related (solution? Look to God in prayer). Or they could be God trying to get our attention (solution? Look to God in prayer). Seems safe to me to allow any circumstance, whatever the cause, even cause unknown, to allow that to push us back up close to Him. May be we need greater sensitivity to let any prod push our eyes upward?
Mundane Matters. Times of spiritual dryness may be attacks, or God trying to get our attention, or personal drifting in our relationship with God. However, they could be indicative of other issues too, often quite mundane. Getting enough rest? Sleep? Weekly break? Exercise? How’s the diet? Any stresses in other areas of life manifesting in this one? Worried about something else? I remember Bill Hybels talking about his own struggle at one point and trying to fix it by spiritual disciplines, but then discovering that it wasn’t at root a spiritual issue, but an emotional and physical one. As he put it, there are several dials on the dashboard, we need to be aware of all of them.
Other factors and suggestions?