This article originally posted on October 8, 2014 on Paultripp.com
There are some verses that I wish weren’t on the pages of my Bible. I do believe that all Scripture is breathed out by God, inerrant and sufficient, but that doesn’t mean I can’t wrestle with some of the words that are written.
Take Psalm 42, for instance. “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2)
I wish those two sentences weren’t in the Bible. Why? Because the Lord authored those versesknowing in advance that his children would experience spiritual dehydration.
I wish that I was never parched. I wish that when I met Christ, my soul would overflow with passion and energy forever. After all, Jesus said “whoever drinks of the water that I give him will never be thirsty again” (John 4:14). So why do I experience periods in my life of faith when I feel dehydrated?
If you’ve been a Christian for longer than a week, you should know that your experience is filled with bumps and bruises. In some cases, you’ll feel as if you have nothing left. That’s what Psalm 42 depicts: a deer desperate for a drink of water, even from a muddy puddle, because it can’t continue without refreshment.
Have you ever been there in your walk with God – lost, dehydrated, and wanting to give up? There are many things I could say about spiritual dehydration, but I’ll only give you two main points for this week.
First, your conversion provides no guarantee of the absence of spiritual dehydration. In fact, the Bible almost assures that your life will be filled with suffering. Some of the earliest disciples needed their soul strengthened and encouraged because they were facing many tribulations (Acts 14:22).
Second, Jesus experienced dehydration just like you. Jesus’ words of “I thirst” (John 19:28) are popular, but perhaps one of the most transparent moments of his earthly ministry came when he said, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
There was a time when even Christ didn’t want to take one more step. But as the God-Man, he did what you and I couldn’t do: he continued on his own strength. Christ took all the steps necessary to Calvary so that when you and I have nothing left, we can rely on him for our strength.
If you’re experiencing spiritual dehydration, don’t be surprised – it’s part of the Christian life. And when you do experience debilitating spiritual weakness, rely on your Savior, who took the steps for you. His power is made perfect in your weakness.
In the following weeks, I’ll say more about this subject.
Paul David Tripp