Spiritual Barrenness (6 Apr 2014)

The recent dry spell in Singapore and our neighbour, Malaysia, has brought some attention to many, as we have not seen such a long spell of dry weather for many years in our history.  In fact, it was reported that the last longest hot spell was way back in the 19th century. The recent dry season stretched for a long period of about close to two months before we saw rain coming back again recently.

During the dry spell, we could see that the usual grass and leaves lining our roads and parks began to turn dry, brown and almost lifeless.  But once the rain came back, interestingly, over the next two days, we could see that the grass and leaves started to return back to their much missed greens and live anew again. And certainly, it brought us much relief and cheer to our sight and heart as well.

One clear incident record in the Old Testament of even longer period of drought was found in the account of the prophet Elijah.  1 Kings 17:1 and 1 Kings 18:1

17:1 – Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to King Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these days, except by my word”.

18:1 – Now it came about after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to King Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth”.

During the period of the drought, things were very difficult for Elijah. Yet, it was during this period, that we saw the mercy and grace of God, strengthening his faith.  The Lord kept Elijah throughout this time.  The Lord provided water through the brook (very small stream) and commanded the ravens (wild birds) to meet the needs of Elijah, bringing him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening, and Elijah could drink from the brook (1 Kings 17: 4-6).  And when the brook dried up, Elijah faithfully went on to Zarephath, where the Lord kept him alive, through the ministry encounters with others!

God kept Elijah on and Elijah persevered and went on to win the battle against the prophets of Baal and Asherah, on Mount Carmel.

There may be times in our spiritual journey, that we go through a period of spiritual barrenness.  Our spiritual disciplines (quiet time, bible reading, prayer life) may seem to be lifeless and a chore.  God’s seems to be far away, not because of Him, but because we deliberately run and stay away from Him. We choose not to acknowledge the strength and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, which God promised to His children (Eph 1:13).

If any of us are in the stage of spiritual barrenness or going through a period of spiritual drought, let’s not be discouraged. God allow a long period of drought in the times of Elijah for reason(s) known only to Himself.  But yet God preserve his servant Elijah through the period of drought, strengthening and protecting him and enabling Elijah to fulfil the mission that God had for him!  Let our hearts be encouraged that there be rain at the end of the drought and much blessings await for us, for those who persevere and tune in  to the voice of God.


Elder Andrew Lim