“Trusting God in desolation doesn’t feel like growth. That’s because grace is working inside our soul and may not improve our circumstances. Psychologically, we’re learning to trust our unseen and unfelt Lord and internalize his Spirit so that out of sight is not out of mind.”- Kristi Gaultiere
“How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”- Psalm 13:1 (NIV)
Kristi Gaultiere concludes Chapter 2 of Journey of the Soul as she contrasts consolation and desolation. When we feel the warmth of the Lord’s presence, Kristi observes, we:
- gain exciting new insights from the Bible
- relax quietly in God’s presence
- engage in rich spiritual conversations
- experience intimacy with God in worship
However, in desolation spiritual activities fail to bring satisfaction. And when we pray, we sense no answer from God. Church bores us. Perhaps we fault ourselves because we can’t feel God’s presence. Above all, Satan tempts us to discouragement, resentment, and cynicism. But, Kristi counsels:
“When you’re in desolation it’s not because you did anything wrong. It’s not because you lack faith. It’s not something you can fix by doing more spiritual disciplines or spending more time at church. Rather, in desolation the Lord is doing a deep and mysterious work of grace in us, withdrawing our felt sense of the Spirit’s presence to reveal our hurts and needs in order to re-form us in love.”
Therefore, as Dallas Willard exhorts, do your best. But don’t trust your best efforts. Instead, trust God. And when you speak words of compassion to hurting people, remember that what God does with the words between your lips and their hearts is what really matters.
Certainly, we’re always inadequate. But our inadequacy isn’t the issue. So lay that burden down. As a result, the satisfaction you possess in Christ spills over into everything you do.
Today’s question: What Bible verses sustain you in trusting God in desolation? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: Our image of God — more about knee-ology”