Throughout my seven and half years of walking with God, I have despised the dry seasons and deserts. They are not exciting, and they leave me feeling one of two ways: I’m doing something wrong or God is simply keeping Himself from me.
For the past month or so, I’ve been walking through a desert. I’ve wrestled with the exact feelings I described above, and on Thursday night, God met me where I was.
That night, I attended one of my university’s chapel services and cried out to God in worship: “Nothing else, nothing else, nothing else will do. I just want you!” As I sang the bridge of this song over and over, I realized that my relationship with God is one I have to fight for.
Relationships, social media, my education, TV, movies, exercise, health, and many other things battle for my attention on the daily. Some of these aspects of life are worth pursuing; others are simply distractions. Because there are so many distractions — so many unworthy things begging for my attention — my relationship with God is something I have to prioritize and truly fight to make time and mental space for — and it often feels like I’m losing this fight. Why? Because I make the mistake of fighting in my own strength.
This results in my walk with God, surrendering to Jesus, and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be a struggle.
The struggle is a place I’ve found myself in time and time and time and time and time and time and time again — and I’ve always hated it; I’ve always hated that my walk with God isn’t continually fruitful and abundant; I’ve always hated that I often lack the love, wonder, and gratitude towards my Creator, Savior, and Advocate that I wish to experience each day.
But then came Thursday night: after worshipping, talking with a roommate, and journaling, the Holy Spirit revealed to me the beauty in the struggle.
The struggle is a unique place that God meets us in, and there is something profound in this struggle we have as believers in our walk with God — something so raw about singing songs that say “Hallelujah I am not alone” yet feeling like God has neglected us.
There is something powerful in our struggle to keep our faith and relationship with God afloat when we fear we are drifting away or sinking, and something much more powerful in realizing that God is found right there in the midst of that struggle. Right there in the midst of my crying out to Him, “nothing else will do, I just want you,” He reaches out, takes my hand, and says, “I have never left your side. I am with you in the struggle.”
My deep desire to walk closely with God — along with my inevitable failure — is what makes the struggle something to rejoice in rather than despise: I can rejoice because the Holy Spirit has given me a pure desire. I can rejoice because God uses my failures to lead me back to His grace and perfection. I can rejoice because God does not abandon me in the midst of want, desperation, and frustration — He uses it to further reveal Himself.
All in all, the struggle, contrary to my long-held beliefs, is normal and okay — beautiful, even. The struggle is where the Holy Spirit reminds us that faith doesn’t always have to flourish to be faith; that walking with God requires commitment, discipline, and dedication; that life and growth still exist in the desert.
Most of all, the Holy Spirit reminds us that God doesn’t meet us in the middle; He meets us right where we are — time and time again.
As you go about your week, walk in the knowledge that God’s grace is sufficient and that you are never out of His reach.