As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs (Psalm 84:6)
One of my greatest struggles in prayer is dryness. Do you ever experience seasons of dryness in your own prayer life? Many times, I have become confused by these experiences, particularly as my prayer time has become dry and then more difficult. Times of dryness bring great frustration because we assume that we are in control, and therefore we must be doing something wrong.
Through dryness is a real situation for many Christian’s, as our prayer life matures I now believe that a time of dryness can become very profitable if, we, embrace these seasons with patience. The real purpose of this dryness is not to cause sufferings but to dislodge the primacy of ego – the illusory self – and in doing so open up to God’s love. It is dry because God’s action is primary; we are no longer in control and are being invited to wait and trust that divine love is working in the unconscious.
I want to take a moment to explore the verse at the top of the blog. ‘As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs’ (Psalm 84:6). What is the valley of Baca and why do those who are seeking God travel through the valley of “Baca”
There has been various interpretation. But I relate to those who suggest Baca to some lonely valley in Palestine – where there was no water – a gloomy way – through which pilgrims commonly passed who went up to the place of worship. Many believers today are spiritually experiencing the journey through the valley of Baca; Baca means the place of weeping. But as the Psalmist writes it is a place we pass through. We as believers are promised that we will not be in the dry valley forever. We will pass through the Valley, and when we have refreshing rain will come.
We can claim the same promise as we pass through seasons of dryness in our spiritual journey. In my own dryness experiences, I have uncovered these precious promises:
- A rough path is an invitation to the next step in growth.
- It is very important not to be distressed or afflicted over dryness.
- The trials and tribulations I have experienced along this road, as difficult as they are, offer a great gift – namely, the emergence of new life in God.
- It has been necessary to suffer a little pain and a little dryness. Without thinking about how much time I have lost or what other losses I may have sustained, I can still come to the Lord with reverence, paying no attention to dryness.
- My strength is not my own, but the Lord’s strength.
- I have always been encouraged to continue or journey though many times I have not understood it because what I have sometimes perceived as an impasse is a necessary stimulus for further growth.
- It is God who brings spiritual refreshment to my dry and weary (and sometimes disobedient) soul. It is God who makes a way for me to be replenished in my dry season of life.
- A great treasure is gained by travelling this road; no wonder we have to pay what seems to us a high price.
- We have the assurance that the experience is temporary, a time of transition into deeper prayer. A perseverance and greater attentiveness to the call of love.
Even when prayer becomes difficult and dry, we are told to persevere. Rather than lose heart because we no longer receive the same reinforcing feelings that we once did, we need to enter the desert and let the experience of dryness wash over us. Let the desert teach us each steadfastness and courage and remind us of the necessity of turning our attention away from ourselves and toward God.
God’s promises of relief and sustained grace nourish and invigorate us in these seasons. His truth and love are like streams of cool running water in the wastelands of life. Those dry seasons of difficulty give way to refreshing, rejuvenating ones when we place our hope in Jesus. He longs for us to recognize the new life He is breathing into our lives.
This has always been God’s intention for His people. ‘For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills’ (Deuteronomy 8:7 NLT).
And what of dryness? Dryness is good and holy and cannot take you from the Divine presence.