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Sometimes That’s All It Takes

Nine and one-half years ago, my family and I left a new church/church plant that we helped form.  Some have said that we left because God led us to.  Others would say that we did the right thing in leaving and moving in the direction we did.  Still others might say that we were wrong in leaving.

Me?  I can’t say what the right answer is.  However, there is definitely one thing that I can say.

I went through almost a decade of the driest time in my relationship with the Lord and in my church life.  It was literally a spiritual desert.

I spent most of that time in a church where I felt myself wither each week as I was so spiritually dehydrated I thought that I would wither up and die.  My soul craved what I could not even express for the longest time.  I was so negative about church and church life that I am sure that I drove people away from me.  If affected my family and it certainly affected my writing and blogging.

I cried out to the Lord countless times to let me leave the situation I was in.  What was the response I received?  Silence.  Deafening silence.  No answer.  I did this for years and with each passing month I grew angry with God.

Finally, I gave up.  I relented.  I told the Lord that I would stay in that church  for as long as He wanted me to, even for the rest of my life if that was what He wanted.

What happened?  Events that drove me from that church.  Events of others and events of my own making.  I was angry again and devastated and relieved..  God was sovereign so that even in a bad situation in which I was hurt, He answered my prayer and began moving me from the farthest reaches of the desert.

We began a church search resulting in us landing in what turned out to be temporary shelter.  Dryness continued, but with what can be looked back at as a purpose.  We moved further from our home only to develop a desire to gather with those in the small community we live in.  If we were going to continue in church, that is.

We didn’t want to go to church anymore.  We wanted to want to go, but it grew harder.  We were at the point of giving up.  Jan asked me what we were going to do.  At our lowest point, it came.

An invitation.

Simple.  Just an invitation.

Sometimes that’s all it takes.

We were welcomed and loved.  Not that we weren’t elsewhere, but it was just……..different.

We are healing.  We are coming out of the sand.  We are drinking  from deep wells.

We are home.

Have you ever had a long season of dryness?  Has anything as simple as an invitation made the difference in your life?

  1. January 3, 2013 at 5:27 am

    As a pastor I have had those long periods of dryness. Once I was pastoring a church in the early 80s and for 16 months I cried out to God to release me from that oppressive situation. He finally did only to lead me to a temporary oasis that eventually became a desert again. I had to deal with sin in my life before I could come out of the desert and into life giving water. i went through it again only much shorter several years ago. This time I was as a pastor of an old, somewhat dying church. Yeah, been there done that.

    • January 5, 2013 at 7:45 am

      Bill, I imagine that it’s not an uncommon occurrence.

  2. Joe Ledford
    January 3, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Larry, I’m glad you are finding refreshing and growth in your church home. At an early point in our marriage, Linda and I received an invitation to attend a church near our new home. We had talked about getting involved in a church but had taken no action. The invitation, issued without strings attached, led us to our church home. I have often thanked God for the two men who visited us and invited us to church.

    • January 5, 2013 at 7:44 am

      I think that is something that we all take for granted, Joe. Someone just really caring about us enough to invite us with no strings attached.

  3. jonstolpe
    January 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I definitely felt a dryness in my spiritual walk following my wife’s illness. It probably took a year and a half until I started to emerge from the dryness. My trip to Guatemala this summer was a major part of my turn around.

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