It is amazing to me to experience the grace and love of the Lord. There are times in life when you go through dry spells and you think, “Where are you God?” You pray, you read the Word, you go to worship, you do all the “right” things. But there’s nothing, no hope, no joy, no peace, no love, nothing. It’s like you’re stuck.
I kind of picture it like when we were growing up. We spent most of the summer with our grandparents in Delaware. At the Matteson’s (my Mom’s parents) we would spend most of the day down at the creek playing in the water doing all kinds of things. One of our favorite things that we did was to build dams.
We would look for our favorite spots in the creek, find the place where the creek narrowed and was shallow, then take some rocks and pile them up on that shallow area. We would then start digging into the banks of the creek to get the clay that was there. We wanted the clay because it would pack in tight between the rocks. Of course we couldn’t get just clay, there was sand mixed with it, but we got mostly clay. We would pack that clay in as tight as we could get it. If we had the time, we would build it around the rocks to the point that you couldn’t even tell that there were rocks there. Of course, we were fighting the current of the creek at the same time, which proved to be a problem sometimes. But most of the time we were able to get the dam built.
In a short amount of time the water would start building up on one side of the dam. On that side of the dam we would try and catch the minnows that were swimming there, splash each other, throw rocks into the deep water, and just see how deep we could get it before the dam broke.
There was one time that we built the dam so well that we actually stopped the water completely for about a half hour. The water ended up running over the top of the dam. That was a fun day of just jumping in and splashing around. But that was on one side of the dam. There was plenty of water, on the other side of the dam there was just a trickle.
When we go through those times of not feeling the love of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God, no matter what we do, it’s like being on that side of the dam. There may be a trickle come through. We may have an experience every now and then, but nothing like playing in the deep water. You feel alone, you hurt, you can’t explain to others what’s going on or how you really feel because what you say just doesn’t make sense. They come back at you with, “Well, you just need to surrender to Jesus. You just need to pray. You just need to read the Bible. You just need to…” While those statements are true, they don’t really help you while you’re going through that dry time.
Two years ago that is what I was experiencing during the holidays and had been experiencing for about a year. I was ready to be done with all of it, the church, family, hobbies, ministry, all of it. Now, I wasn’t as far as taking my life, but I really believe I was headed there. It’s a dark lonely place that no one can reach. No one can understand but you.
Then one day, the dam broke. I’m telling you, just like the dams that we built in that creek that washed away and gave way to the power of the water, God’s love, grace, and mercy washed through my dark hole. He brought light to that spot and my life turned completely around. It wasn’t through a physical relationship. It wasn’t through some worship service. It wasn’t through something that happened in the church office. My circumstances hadn’t changed, as a matter of fact the work at the church has gotten harder since that time. It happened one day while I was writing a letter of apology in my journal to a church for something that took place 28 years ago. I hadn’t realized that I had buried all those emotions and all those feelings toward the church. I hadn’t realized that I had put the rocks in place and over the years packed the clay in, kept adding the rocks, and kept adding more and more clay. However on this particular day there was a release, a weight that was lifted, and the love of God washed the dam away. The clay was gone, the rocks were moved, the sand washed away. It is amazing. That His love and His mercy is fresh and new every morning. It is amazing how much He loves us and cares for us, even in our darkest moments.
I want all of you to know just how much He loves each and every one of you. No matter where you are. No matter what you are doing. No matter what you’ve done. He still loves you. If you’re feeling that dry time, hang in there. The things of this world will NOT cause it to rain again. The things of this world will NOT give you what you need to fulfill your life. Only the Lord can do that. I’m not saying that you need to forgive anyone, but there may be a dam that was built that is holding back the love, mercy, and grace of God. Make sure that there is nothing there blocking the work that He wants to do in you. Love all of you and praying for you this Holiday Season. God is faithful and will see you through.