Recently, the Holy Spirit and I hunkered down in Psalm 63 together (you may wish to pause right now and read it yourself so you will understand more of what I am about to share). Trekking through those familiar verses, a well-known stirring began to move again in my heart. This stirring within is a physical and emotional response to my own spirit hungering for deeper, more meaningful interaction with God. Because I am always longing for more in my journeys with Jesus, it does not take much to lift my mind up out of the here and now, and place me in a state of soul-fixation on that invisible realm that holds so much mystery for me. As I continued to read King David’s words in that sixty-third Psalm, I was deeply blessed and content to temporarily ride on the coattails of his own passionate pursuit of God in a dry and weary land. When David said to God in Psalm 63:2, “I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory”, I gently confronted myself and asked if I have been able to legitimately say the same thing in recent weeks.
Could I say that my own personal experience with God has resulted lately in beholding His power and glory? I’m not speaking about God’s visible presence because none of us who are currently alive have seen that. This is a question concerning our own spiritual experience. Has it been profound enough recently to leave us so overwhelmed and convinced that nothing else besides God will satisfy us? After reading Psalm 63:2, I immediately had Isaiah 35:2 enter my mind without prompting:
“They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.” – Isaiah 35:2
Holy Spirit was kind to me, but very clear as He brought me to confession that the well has been a little low for several very busy weeks. Truth be known, it has been a while since I have been personally, privately overpowered and lastingly awed by a sense of God’s majesty. I say “privately” because that is when there is zero opportunity to have a propped-up experience with God. When it happens in private, the level of legitimacy arises because it is just you and Him. In an instant of personal conviction, I recognized that a lack of stillness had recently rendered me ineligible to experience the overwhelming presence of my God. It was a short and shallow wilderness that had started to encroach upon my heart. It was in that moment of my own dry and thirsty land that I sensed again my deep thirst for His presence.
Beholding the astounding glory of God on the backside of dry days – yes, we all need this experience. In a similar setting as Psalm 63, the 35th chapter of Isaiah provides a scene of barrenness being restored to beauty.
A desert becomes an oasis.
Parched ground is transformed unto pools of water.
That which is lacking and dry becomes lush and developed.
This, my friend, is what God does when His presence and glory is manifested. He brings forth the green from the brown. He can do this for David in the desert of Psalm 63. God can accomplish this for the land of Israel in Isaiah 35. He reversed the fearful outlook of the early disciples with rushing, mighty wind and the tongue-torches of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2’s Pentecostal invasion. Let us not forget that the Almighty says in the back of our bibles that He continues to make all things new. Yes, God is a boundless expert at the art of restoration.
And He intends to make your heart His next canvas.
Some of you are in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. Some of you are Parched Presbyterians, Burned-out Baptists, Dry-peeled Pentecostals ,or some other form of the same undesirable spiritual reality. I have been there more than once in my following Christ, so I am certainly not pointing the finger of accusation at anyone. I am, instead, encouraging you to call it what it is and to ask yourself the question of just how long you intend to shrug off the frightening fact that you are no longer seeing the glory of God with your spiritual eyes. Is it nothing to you who pass by? The God of all glory and power is willing to stoop to us in grace and infuse our dry lack with His soaking nourishment. He is able to bring moisture to your arid heart. He can endow you with such grace that your life will move from dull monochrome to 4K Ultra in a matter of time. God delights in reversals and some have told themselves for too long that this is true in theory but that it cannot be their personal reality. Many years ago, for a miserable season, I gave my heart over to the notion that my need for personal revival would never be met. I learned to exist as a Christian but gave up on the hope of personal revival. I became a desert wanderer and kept company with other sand-stung nomads of the faith. Would it surprise you if I admitted that this sad state of my soul lasted longer than a year? What if I doubled the number to two years – would you think me a backslider? The actual amount of time was longer than two years and, sadly, very few around me even noticed. Maybe it was because they had become used to dwelling in those sand-sucking badlands also. Admittedly, I did not notice their dearth either. It’s hard to see each other clearly in our dullness when we aren’t even able to perceive the glorious King and His majesty. I needed the Lord to make me His renovation project, and to bring my sapped soul from the desert to the fresh waters of restored hope and reignited joy.
I no longer live in prolonged seasons of dearth. I am unsure of exactly when things changed for me, but something shifted in my soul so that I now own an internal trigger that flips itself when too much time passes outside of full-contact encounter with God. I wanted genuine, sustained revival. But, first, God wanted my repentance. I wanted abounding hope so God gave me first an assaulting hunger. I needed joy so the Lord let me first run myself out of that human tendency to seek out that joy in lesser things. I wanted to arrive at a destination, so God first chose to employ a process. The end result (thus far) is that I have been seeing His power and glory again for a few years… which is only intensifying my awareness of how long recently I had gone dim-sighted. There’s no boast in this renewed vision for me because all I saw back in the day were shadows and sand. He just had to wait for me to get sick of living that way. Sick enough to say, “No more.”
Let me encourage you to cry out to Him today. Do it again tomorrow. Pray some hazardous prayers which invoke the will of the Almighty to be exercised as deeply as necessary in your life. Wait on it. It will arise more quickly than you might think. Abba cannot ignore the earnest cries of His own children, no matter how dry is the heart from which those prayers originate.
You weren’t made to remain in the desert. You are not above passing through the desert, but it is not His intention for you to be there for good. Thirsty? Superb. That is the key factor in your being filled. When you are tired of the badlands you will cry out. You will not complain. You will not wish. You will not moan and groan. You will cry out those words which have been met with countless interventions by God. What are those two words?