Here we start the lesson of the dry season.
Empty is a journey, a walk, a season that proves everything that we’ve learned in the storm. Empty is a lonely, broken place. You’ve walked through a dry season for so long… you followed eager to be a part of what God was doing- but now you find your self used up, poured out, tired of fighting.
You’ve been in the trenches, on the front line giving your all. But it’s not like what it was at first, it’s not as easy, it’s not as fulfilling and you feel yourself being pulled back. Part of you feels relieved, you can rest now, you can lower your arms. But the other side wonders what you did wrong, what happened? Why, do I feel so empty?
Now you find yourself walking through an endless desert. Your hands are tired, your arms are weary, your heart is battered. Maybe you even doubt that you heard His call bringing you to this place, surely, surely this empty feeling wasn’t supposed to happen. Perhaps you question if it was worth it, the need was so great, and your best was like a single tear in an ocean of need.
Like Naomi We’ve Returned
We’ve come back home like Naomi, empty and now we must face all those who knew us when. We have to face the people that cheered us on when we left or cast their stones, and we feel like we have to explain why we’re empty. Quickly that doubt creeps in maybe we were wrong, perhaps He didn’t call us there. Maybe, maybe… so soon in the face of that doubt the lessons we learned out on the water fall flat. They fade from view, and we try to hide the empty place, we try to cover it up, we can’t let them see it. In our desperation to hide that we’ve come home empty that area is left a void. It begins to harden, and crack, what had been born out on the water withers in the wasteland.
You know I think we are much harder on ourselves than anyone back home ever would be, but fear slithers back up, and before we know it, it becomes heavy shackles. The fear of what the people back home, our friends, our family members will think keeps us hiding behind a wall of shame that should never have been born.
Empty Doesn’t Mean Failure
We’ve come to believe that empty means, failure, that the journey wasn’t worth it, that we missed His calling, but that’s not what empty represents. Empty is that your alabaster jar has been broken open like the woman who washed Jesus’s feet and poured out for His glory. What we see as shame should be held up like a torch, Yes, Yes I am empty. Yes, I have been broken, I’ve been poured out. I have nothing left to give.
We forget that He called us out full so that we could full other’s cups and so that we could be His hands and feet. To do that we had to be emptied. If we come back whole and full, we missed the entire point. But we’ve come to believe that coming back empty is something to be ashamed of, to hide. We think it means we’ve done something wrong. But if our buckets did not grow empty, we wouldn’t need to come back to the well.
I think the biggest testament of your faith is walking through the dry season, still proclaiming everything He has done for us. See this, this where He calmed the storm. And this place, this is where He saw me through. Here, here I thought I was lost but I was never out of His sight- not for a moment.
Don’t Worry About What They’ll Say
Do not get so caught up worrying about what they will think or say. This season, this season isn’t about them. You do not need their seal of approval. Remember, you don’t need their acceptance, you don’t even need them to tell you it was worth it because when you have the approval of someone higher up, people’s approval doesn’t matter. You didn’t do this for them.
This season doesn’t mean you messed up, it doesn’t mean you’re lost, it’s just another tool, like the lesson’s we’ve learned in the storm. When you have nothing left to give, when your hands are empty, and all you see is swirling sand, HE IS ALL YOU NEED.
We try so hard to get away from this place- but it is the thing that God is using to teach us. He is using it to prove His power in your life. God let Shadrack, Meshach, and Abendago walk into the furnace to show Nebuchadnezzar that He was God. He parted the Red Sea so that the nations would know that He was God. He allowed Daniel to spend a night in the lion’s den so He could shut their mouths.
Don’t worry about the fire that surrounds you, or the water, because He’s right there with you. Every step of the way He is there. It’s another layer of learning to rely on Him. Perhaps the very reason He brought you to the lion’s den is so that He could shut their mouths and you would know it could only be Him.
It’s Already Under Your Feet
Don’t surrender to what is already under your feet, this battle has already been won. He’s already forged the way across this wasteland, you just have to keep walking. Don’t forget the lessons you’ve learned in the storm. Some of the dry places that we want so badly to avoid are the very places that God is going to use the most.
Maybe faith is believing in what we will only understand after we walk through this season. Keep clinging to Him, He will sustain you. You were not lost in the storm, He will not forget you in the desert. This season is where all the promises and the lessons that we’ve learned are put to the test. Sometimes we get so caught up describing what we are going through, that we forget to praise the one that is seeing us through. If we can praise Him in the storm, why can’t we praise Him here? Praise Him in the dry season!
The Purpose Of The Dry Season
Perhaps the whole purpose of us walking through the dry season was so that someone who is also walking through a wasteland will know they are not forgotten. That this place is not where they are lost. He is still faithful in this season, and even if our only offering is broken praise and salty tears it’s enough. Because He takes our little and pours Himself over it, and it becomes enough.
You are not the first person to walk through this desert, my friend you are in good company. I know this wasteland feels empty, it feels barren and endless without a chance of changing- but I promise it’s not. You may not be able to see what is over the next hill, but He’s already been there, He’s already carved the way.
Read Psalm 42:1-11, James 4:8, Psalm 63:1 & Matthew 5:6
He is the water your parched soul craves. Perhaps the lesson of the dry season is to strip away everything we think we need, everything we think will fulfill us, every seal of approval we think we need so that we’ll remember when the next storm comes that all we need is Him. Maybe it takes the trek through the dry season to compound the knowledge that we don’t need the world’s approval. If He is in it, IT’S WORTH IT. Perhaps we’ve been brought to this place so we won’t fear the discomfort of being squeezed out because He is the living water and He will never run dry.
Before you go look at the other articles on The Dry Season
- Turning Back The Wasteland 2
- Wrestling With God 3
- The Lord Is In This Place 4
- Walking Wounded 5
- Will Anything Good Come From This Season?