“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)
Have you ever experienced spiritual numbness?
I know that all Christians, at some point in their walk with the Lord, have been there. The Word feels like just a book, prayers feel like you are talking to the air, and you no longer want to worship. Hymns and worship songs are empty words rolling off your tongue. You can’t believe that you used to be on fire for the Lord because now you feel empty.
I understand how you feel dear reader; because I’m there again myself.
I’m currently walking through a season of grief. I did not think it would hit me like this. At first, I was okay, sad, but okay. I was able to say, “But God is still good!” even after receiving the horrible news that brought on this season of grief. And then, I went to church. Spiritual numbness came upon me and it has yet to leave me.
In this time, I have three things I’ve been doing. No, I don’t want to do them, but I know giving up these three practices would be dangerous to my faith and trust in God. So, dear reader, if you are in a place of numbness and feel as if your faith is on the brink of destruction, these tips are for you.
1. Study your Bible
Don’t just read your Bible, study it. I know, dear friend, you don’t want to right now. You want to put your Bible on the highest shelf and forget about it, but you must study His word. Pick a book and start going through it line by line, chapter by chapter, writing down what you learn, reading commentaries alongside it, listening to sermons on the particular passage you are reading. Become a student of God’s word, even if it feels like none of this is getting through and melting your heart of stone.
I would highly recommend Matthew Henry’s commentary on the Bible. It’s a thick one, but it’s been such a great resource to me and has helped me dive into chapters of the Bible I haven’t been able to understand. Or, you can always use the good old internet to look up commentaries by many great Bible scholars. If you are like me and prefer a physical book, check your church library or ask your pastor what he recommends. There is a whole world of resources out there, all written by those who want to help, encourage, and move your forward in the studying of His word.
This one is personally the hardest for me to build up the courage to do. In times of spiritual numbness, I feel as if God is just not listening to me. I know others feel this way too. But the Bible always reminds us that God listens.
“Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me!” (Psalm 66:20)
“And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15)
The last sentence of 1 John 5:15 is key. It does not mean the God gives us whatever we ask for, because sometimes we are unaware of what we are asking for is wrong or not a part of His will for our lives. It means that God hears us, He hears our prayers, and He gives us what He has planned. That could mean yes, He will give you relief from this numbness, but it has to last a little while longer. He will give you a spouse, a child, a better relationship with your family, but in His timing.
Pray dear reader. Pray during this season of numbness and know that not only does He hear, but He will give your relief when He sees it fit. I know that you will look back on this time of numbness and see the fruit that God grew.
3. Ask for prayer
In this season of numbness, I have felt as if my faith was on the brink. I can say that now, I understand the temptation to turn away from the faith, to run from God and never turn back. This is, however, a temptation that needs to be fought against. We must remember: if you are truly a child of God, you cannot lose your salvation! But, when walking through a season of spiritual numbness, praying against these temptations can feel like a daunting task.
This is when the prayers of the saints are to be greatly coveted. It can be embarrassing to ask for prayers, to admit you are struggling because you never know what people will say. Some people will embrace you in your time and lift you up to the Lord. Others will be awkward and sidestep away from the subject (yes, it happens, please don’t be that person). Either way, asking for prayer in a time of numbness is a way to practice humility and to have the prayers of the saints covering you.
Asking for prayers can also be beneficial if you simply cannot bring yourself to pray. Now, I’m not saying don’t pray. I am saying I understand there are times when you are too numb to pray and having others covering you in prayers can give peace to your troubled soul.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16)
Finally, I wanted to give a word of encouragement to you walking through spiritual numbness: It will end, there will be a fire in your soul for the Lord soon. I can’t tell you when, but it will come soon dear reader. Wait on the Lord, take courage, wait on the Lord.