Hold His Hand : The Way out of Spiritual Doldrums

In one of our sessions, a trainee told me he felt small and unqualified for ministry. A feeling I only know too well and so I prayed and asked the Lord, “How do I encourage my brother?”

The Lord brought to mind Isaiah 41:13–16 (NIVUK84).

For I am the LORD, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob,
O little Israel,
for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
“See, I will make you into a threshing-sledge,
new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
and reduce the hills to chaff.
You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up,
and a gale will blow them away.
But you will rejoice in the LORD
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 41:13–16 (NIVUK84)

We took time to study, memorize it and had many wonderful conversations. We discussed Joshua, David, and the virtue and source of courage. And we prayed and are still praying for God to give us the grace to be courageous in ministry.

In my last article, I described the doldrums of the Christian life. A place with no wind where you feel powerless, helpless and lost. The wind in my analogy is the power of the Spirit of God, empowering us on the journey to God. Here is the question we need to answer. What’s the way out of the doldrums?

The foundation of a Christ centred life is the Scriptures and prayer.

What have I learnt on this journey?

“The eternal life of which Jesus speaks is not knowledge about God but an intimately interactive relationship with him.” – Dallas Willard[1]

God has expressed his thoughts, will and heart to us in scripture. I remember learning that, “God is not who I think He is, but Who He is as revealed in His Holy, inerrant, infallible and eternal Word.” Understanding that has huge implications!

People often ask me, “How can I know God’s will for my life?” They yearn to hear God’s voice. I remember years when I would go from one Christian event to another, hoping to hear or feel something. For sure, some of them helped, but ultimately, I left disillusioned. I learnt then that chasing after the latest popular speaker is not the way out of the doldrums.

“Disillusionment is the child of illusion. What we struggle with in the end, we got wrong at the beginning.” – Fran Sciacca[2]

We have to ground our walk with God in the scriptures by regularly listening to biblical teaching, devotional Bible reading, deep study, and memorizing the word of God. When we do this, we gradually think his thoughts. This is what God spoke about in Romans 12:1–2 (NIVUK84).

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:1–2 (NIVUK84)

Prayer is also essential. Remember that the Pharisees rejected Jesus even though they were well versed in the scriptures. One wonders how they could have missed it, every page pointed clearly to Jesus.

Hearing God’s message through the scriptures is not just an intellectual exercise. We can only know Him because He reveals Himself to us. Paul teaches this to us in 1 Corinthians 2:1-16:

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. – 1 Corinthians 2:4–5 (NIVUK84)

10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:10 (NIVUK84)

11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no-one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. – 1 Corinthians 2:11–13 (NIVUK84)

16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NIVUK84).

So, you better pray before, during and after you read the scriptures. With practise and over time, it becomes a conversational relationship, a back and forth. A relationship where God speaks first and we respond to him in prayer. As we do that, He takes our hand and leads us out of the doldrums into the great adventure, the open sea with its tides and waves, the Highs and lows of our journey with and to Him.

[1] Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God

[2] Fran Sciacca, So What’s Your Point?

Author : Bethuel Bissem

Bethuel serves with The Navigators Kenya, Students ministry.

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