Have you been in a season when everything you do seems to fail? You have done the best you can, yet you end up accomplishing nothing. You are prayerful, yet God seems so quite. Or so you thought.
It's what I had been feeling the past few months. But my hope lies in God's promise that in all things He works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). It is hard indeed. Especially when it affects your relationship with others.
In my quite time yesterday, I came across Bob Sorge's thoughts on "spiritual wilderness" and why God allows it to happen to His beloved. God puts us to various trials to make us grow in spiritual maturity. And maturity in Christ, as Sorge aptly puts it, is measuerd by how much we've come to depend on Him. The greater the dependence, he says, the greater the maturity. He continues: "God is looking for brokenness, helplessness, weakness, and absolute dependence upon Him."
There are four kinds of dependence, according to Sorge. Let me share with you excerpts from his book The Fire of Delayed Answers:
- Total independence. This is the natural state of every unbeliever. Those outside Christ rely exclusively upon their own resources to survive.
- Claimed dependence. When we first come to Christ we eagerly say, "Lord, I depend completely upon You!" But we're oblivious to the fact that we don't know the first thing yet about dependence. We continue to rely upon the personal support systems we naturally built before we came to Christ. The Lord loves us so much, though, that He will being to help us see our self-reliant independence.
- Realized dependence. This is what happens when the Lord shows us how utterly dependent we are upon Him, and we embrace the truth that we can do nothing apart from Him. (John 15:5). At this level the believer sincerely cries out to God for help in every area of life.
- Desperate dependence. This level of dependence, illustrated in Song of Solomon 8:5, is achieved only through the purposeful formation of the Holy Spirit. He leads us into a wilderness experience that He creates specifically and personally for just us. By the time He's finished with us, we hopefully will have learned this ultimate expression of dependence. One indicator that you've come to a place of desperate dependence is this: Time spent with Jesus in prayer is no longer a discipline, nor is it merely a delight; prayer (relationship with God) has become for you a matter of sheer survival.
When we have been a Christian for quite sometime, it is easy for us to fall into the trap of complacency. We even sometimes rationalize our actions and tend to be legalistic about things when all that matters more than anything else is our personal relationship with the Lord. Thus, God in His mercy, brings us back to our senses by allowing us to go through the wilderness experience until we completely learn to abandon ourselves in complete reliance to Him.
"Real wisdom is realizing our continual dependence upon God to give us His wisdom moment by moment." - Bob Sorge