She sits in bible study again this week, and she smiles every time it seems appropriate. She says “Amen!” with the rest of the ladies when something particularly moving is said, and she answers questions when they are asked of her.
But still she doesn’t feel it. Still she doesn’t feel anything.
There is a vague recollection, a faint memory of feeling her faith once upon a time. It seems that she can almost grab onto this long ago heart condition, but then in slips away, more elusive with each passing moment.
What happened to that girl she once knew who was so on fire for Jesus? Where did she go? It doesn’t make it any better that everyone else around her seems to be having no problem living in the faith they proclaim. They cry and laugh and genuinely seem to feel what they believe.
Life just got in the way, and now she is left with doubt and pain at this Spiritual Sahara Desert which has become her life.
Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever entered into seasons of your life where you can only describe your faith as in your head but seldom in your heart?
Are you living in the Spiritual Sahara?
Take heart, sisters; you are not alone. Every believer goes through times of living in a heart wasteland when it comes to her faith, times when she knows what she knows, but doesn’t feel the stirring of joy at the knowledge. David knew this condition. He wrote of it often:
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” (Psalm 13:1-2)
In these times, we tend to do one of two things:
- Doubt our salvation, or
- Doubt God’s presence
David doubted God’s presence, but lately I have heard from so many women who doubt their salvation as they live in a Spiritual Sahara.
The truth is that our salvation is never dependent on us, so it’s never dependent on what we feel. We are saved because of God’s merciful grace which is given only because of Jesus. He gave us what we could both never attain or maintain. The ability to emotionally lay hold of this gift every day for the rest of our days on this earth is quite literally impossible. We live in a fallen world and we do so with fallen hearts. They are fickle and easily distracted.
But God isn’t. Jesus said,
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. And this is the will of Him who sent me that I should lose none of all that He has given to me.” (John 6:37, 39)
You see, the enemy would have us give up. The enemy would have us throw our hands up in the air and stop believing in the perfect love that casts out fear and death, but we will not. We will not go down in defeat when these fickle, fallen hearts drift in and out of conviction. We will lay hold of what we know. We will lay hold of Whom we know and on Whom we have believed.
Do not despair, sisters, when your heart is weary and heavy laden, which often is manifested in apathy and despair. Jesus said it is then that we are to come to Him and He will give us rest. As with all other things, we lay this at our Savior’s feet, and we never stop!
Like David, who began Psalm 13 wondering if God had forgotten him, we move in what we know. The last two verses of this psalm read,
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:5-6)
If you are living in a Spiritual Sahara right now, lift your eyes toward heaven. Remember that your place as the bride of Christ was secured from before the foundation of time, from before you even breathed! Your heart is not the barometer by which your salvation is measured. Only Jesus can do that, and He has done it.
Lift up your eyes and sing to the Lord. Remember what you know. Your heart will catch up.