“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery
You might be very comfortable with your spiritual life. You pray regularly and your prayer gives you strength and comfort. You do good works and feel fulfilled. You are at the peak of your “game”, so to speak, in living your faith life and all looks well.
There is one problem with that and I think we all realize it: we don’t remain there forever. We could have the best experience with anything in life but, sooner or later, the experience will end and we find ourselves wondering what’s next.
As we wait for what’s next, we might experience a real dryness in our lives. Nothing seems to click as it once did and very little, if anything, fulfills us. We chomp at the bit to change what is happening but nothing changes.
This happens to us in our spiritual lives as well. Our prayer, once comforting and sustaining, might begin to feel lackluster. We might feel like no one is there to listen to us. We might feel that our prayer is in vain. Our good works might not fulfill either. Perhaps we feel taken advantage of rather than feeling like we are helping others.
Great saints have all described this “desert experience” where they found themselves with a feeling that they were cut off from God. The desert, that place of spiritual dryness, came be very disconcerting. It is a place where we face many demons. Even Jesus faced demons in His forty days in the desert.
Saint-Exupery tells us that deserts are not all bad, though. They are places that hide something very special. They hide a well. The nomads all knew that, as they went through the desert, they would find an oasis where they could water their livestock as well as themselves. They just had to be patient and continue to search for it.
In this pandemic, many people have expressed that they feel that they are in a spiritual desert. If you are feeling that, you are not alone. Just remember, in every desert, there is a well, there is an oasis, there is water. By patience, by continuing to do the things you know the Lord wants you to do, you will find that place of respite and be able to refresh yourself for the continued journey. Search with confidence and remember that you are not alone on your journey. The Lord is there with you. Right by your side.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for those who struggle with desert experiences in their faith lives.