|Unless you gave up cake for Lent... |
then you can't come to the party.
*Church year, not calendar year.
To commemorate this momentous occasion, I'm going to have an anniversary party. You're all invited!
Unfortunately, I'm not quite to the partying part yet. I have gotten to the point where I've accepted this dry spell - whatever it means - but I haven't gotten to the point of rejoicing. Maybe someday I will go all St. Paul and learn how to rejoice in my suffering (2 Cor 12:10, Rom 5:3, Col 1:24, etc.), but until then, I'll have to save my cake-eating and happy-dancing for other occasions.
I suppose it is fitting that my dry spell began with Lent last year. I entered the desert with Christ, but for reasons known only to God, I didn't experience the joyous resurrection of coming out of the spiritual desert when Easter rolled around. While there have been brief periods of spiritual enlightenment, joy, and revelation, I haven't been able to leave that dry, arid desert for a year - at least, not yet.
Throughout the past year, I've had many people ask me what I mean by "spiritual dry spell" and to describe what it's like. This is not a question that offers an easy answer!
|Jesus Ministered to by Angels, by James Tissot|
Oh, and he was tempted by that pesky Devil. Over and over again. He was offered food, power, and riches - everything that someone in a weakened state could ever dream about - but Christ turned it all down.
While we have insight into what Jesus did in the desert through the Gospel accounts, we have no inkling of what his heart, mind, and soul were going through during that period in the spiritual wasteland.
Did he feel as if God had abandoned him?
Did he close his eyes to pray and see only darkness and emptiness?
Did his heart yearn for the closeness he once felt with the Father?
I don't have the answers as to what Christ went through. I think that perhaps he had to experience that in some way, since he was human in every way but sin. We all go through periods of spiritual dryness, and these times are even more noticeable when we go from an on-fire faith life to being thrown in the desert. Each person experiences this dryness in a different way.
I can say that for me, my dry spell is not necessarily characterized by feelings or temptations, but by the lack of something - anything - which makes it difficult to describe.
|This picture lacks a presence.|
In my heart, I know that God hasn't left me, and I know that I haven't been carrying this alone, but that doesn't make the sensation of feeling alone any less. I can read and reflect on the idea of suffering all I want, but that doesn't actually make the suffering go away. At the end of the day, I can accept it all while still wondering why I'm in this spiritual state, right here and right now.