PERIODS OF DRYNESS
From the book "Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ"
Mme. Jeanne Guyon (edited)
The following chapter, by Jeanne Guyon, speaks mainly to individual experience, but it is always helpful to be aware of what God is speaking and doing in the larger spheres. God deals with His body on many different levels at once. He operates the little finger as deftly as He controls the entire body. In other words, He deals with us both individually and corporately. Attending to God's prophets in this generation will help us to put our personal experience into a greater context and can give much needed direction and understanding to our prayers and actions, both individually and corporately, as the body of Christ.
"Dear reader, you must realize that God has only one desire. Certainly you can never understand a dry spell unless you understand what His desire is. His desire is to give Himself to the soul that really loves Him and to that soul which earnestly seeks Him. And yet it is true that this God who desires to give Himself to you will often conceal Himself from you--from you, the very one who seeks Him!
Now why would God do that? Dear saint of God, you must learn the way of your Lord. Yours is a God who often hides Himself. He hides Himself for a purpose. Why? His purpose is to rouse you from spiritual laziness. His purpose in removing Himself from you is to cause you to pursue Him.
The Lord Jesus is looking about everywhere for that Christian who will remain faithful and loving even when He has withdrawn Himself. If the Lord finds such a faithful soul, when He does return, He rewards the faithfulness of His child. He pours out upon that faithful one abundant goodness and tender caresses of love.
Here, then, is something you must understand.
You will have times of spiritual dryness. It is part of the Lord's way. But the fact you will have spiritual dry spells is not the issue. The important question is what you will do in a time of spiritual dryness? At this point you must learn something about your natural tendencies. It will be the natural thing for you, during a dry season, to try to prove your love to the Lord. During a spiritually dry season you will find that you will try to prove to the Lord your faithfulness toward Him; you will do this by exerting your strength. Unconsciously you will be hoping by
such self effort to persuade Him to return more quickly.
No. dear Christian, believe me, this is not the way to respond to you Lord in seasons of dryness.
What then shall you do?
You must await the return of your Beloved with patient love. Join with that love self-denial and humiliation! Even though the Lord has hidden Himself, remain constantly before Him. There before Him, pour out your love upon Him passionately and yet, I would add, always peacefully.
Spend time with Him in worship and in respectful silence. By waiting upon the Lord in this way, you will demonstrate to Him that it is He alone whom you are seeking. You see, you will be demonstrating that it is not the selfish enjoyment which you receive from being in His presence that causes you to love Him. You will be showing that it is not the pleasure, which you experience, but your love that motivates you.
There is a quotation . . . that speaks of such seasons:
Do not be impatient in times of dryness and darkness; allow the removals and delays of the consolations of God; draw near to Him and wait upon Him patiently that your life may be increased and be renewed. So, dear children of the Lord, be patient in your prayer during those seasons of dryness.
Let me ask you a question. What if the Lord called upon you to spend your whole lifetime waiting for His return to you? How would you conduct yourself if this were the lot the Lord should mete out to you for all the rest of your life? What would you do?
Wait upon Him in a spirit of humility, in a spirit of abandonment, with contentment and resignation . . .. Come before Him quietly and peacefully, recalling your mind to His presence even though His presence may evade you.
As you do these things, accompany them all with pleas of sorrowful, plaintive love and expressions of yearnings for your lover's return. I wish to assure you that if you will conduct yourself this way, it will please the heart of God greatly. Such an attitude will compel Him to return to you much more quickly than any other."