Friend, what is the right thing to do in a dry place?
What are we supposed to do when God leads us to dry places, to places of lack and hardship? We can learn valuable lessons about what to do and what not to do in our dry places in the biblical account of Exodus chapter 17.
When God Leads Us to Dry Places
In this Exodus chapter, we find the Israelites traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded.
“The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.” (Exodus 17:1)
Did the Lord lead them deliberately to Rephidim, the place without water?
Does God lead us to dry places, to places of need and lack? Does He lead us to places of hardship, testing, discomfort, challenges, losses, and disappointments? Definitely yes! In fact, He may even lead us in the valley of the shadow of death. (Psalm 23)
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Testing or Trusting the Lord
What do we do when we find ourselves in a place without water? Do we test the Lord or do we trust Him? Here is what the Israelites did.
They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (Exodus 17:3)
Because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7)
Isn’t it the same we are doing when God puts us in a dry place of hardship?
I remember asking similar questions when my husband died unexpectedly and prematurely after days and weeks of fervent prayer. I asked the Lord, “What was the point of saving Thomas’ life through a life-saving surgery only then to let him die from unforeseen surgery complications?” and “Why did you save and restore my marriage to make me a widow?”
Perhaps you asked similar questions.
“God, why did you save me to make me suffer from this chronic illness?”
“God, why did you bring me into this situation? Why do you let me experience this enormous disappointment?”
“God, why did you bring me to this dry place, to the place of lack?”
Besides such questions, the other natural reaction is to start doubting if God is with us and for us. We start doubting His love, His care, and provision.
The Right Thing to Do in a Dry Place
What can we do when we are stuck in a dry place, struggling with doubt, disbelief, and mistrust?
We find the answer when we observe Moses’ reaction. First, he cried out to the Lord, and then he carried out the Lord’s instructions.
Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. (Exodus 17:4-6)
The Lord answered Moses’ cry and was ready with a solution. It was a miraculous solution–bringing water from the rock.
We are to follow Moses’ example and instead of pulling away from the Lord in mistrust and doubt, the right thing to do is to pull closer to Him, asking Him for help. The Lord will answer and give a way out. He is ready to hear our pleas and act.
We need to be prepared to act in faith too and carry out the Lord’s instruction. This means believing in His word and acting upon it.The right thing to do in a dry place is not to pull away from the Lord in mistrust and doubt, but to pull closer to Him, asking Him for help. #trustGod #Biblestudy #encouragement Click To Tweet
Moving from Doubt to Trust
I also moved from my attitude of anger, doubt, and mistrust to a place of trust and faith. This process started with the decision to accept the Lord’s sovereign will, admitting that He is God and He knows best. I needed to accept that the Lord does not make mistakes.
It was my choice to trust His love and wisdom again in my dry and desolated place, so I could move on to healing.
I needed to approach the Lord again with faith and trust, asking for His comfort, provision, and healing, so I could be able to receive from Him. The Lord has been faithful. He has provided for me in the valley of the shadow of death and He continues to provide.
I still don’t understand why I experienced such a life-altering loss, but I choose to trust God’s good plan and purpose in my life. God does not owe us an explanation, but He is always by our side to give us consolation and the gift of His intimate fellowship.God does not owe us an explanation, but He is always by our side to give us consolation and the gift of His intimate fellowship. #encouragement #trustGod #faith Click To Tweet
The Purpose of Our Dry Places
The Israelites called their dry place Massah (testing) and Meribah (quarreling). (Exodus 17:7)
The Lord leads us to dry places primarily to test us–to test our faith and perfect it. He wants to lead us to places of total dependence on Him so He can show us He is totally dependable.
The dry places stretch our faith and enlarge our trust; they make us resilient and strong. They contain possibilities to experience God’s miraculous provision and His presence in new, deeper ways.
The dry places lead to change and transformation, spurring spiritual growth and maturity. Ultimately, they become places of blessings.The Lord leads us to places of total dependence on Him so He can show us He is totally dependable. #trustGod #Biblestudy #bgbg2 Click To Tweet
More Comfort and Encouragement for Your Dry Places
If you are in a dry place right now, you may also want to check my “BOOK OF COMFORTS”. In this book you’ll find comfort when you struggle with unmet expectations, disillusionment in faith, when you are in a season of pain, when your hope diminishes, when life gets hard and much more. Reflection questions and a guided prayer follow each devotion.
Additionally, I can recommend highly these books. They have helped me tremendously in my dry places of hardship, grief, and loss. Check them out.
A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss by Jerry L. Sittser
A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life by Jerry L. Sittser
Restoration Year – a 365 Days Devotional by John Eldredge
All Things New by John Eldredge
It’s not supposed to Be This Way by Lisa Terkeurst
The Grief Guidebook: Common Questions, Compassionate Answers, Practical Suggestions by Gary Roe
Hope When Life Unravels: Finding God When It Hurts by Adam Dooley
Life Can Be Good Again by Lisa Appelo
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Are you in a dry place right now? Can you trust the Lord to bring water from the rock? Share in the comments and on social media if you found this article helpful. Thank you!
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6 Replies to “The Right Thing to Do in a Dry Place”
Very thought provoking post (I always love your messages.)The part “ accept that the Lord does not make mistakes” really resonated with me. It’s a wonderful reminder to keep in my mind and heart.
Thanks so much, Debbie! I am glad this message resonated with you. Blessings!
It’s so good to remember that God does not make mistakes. Thank you for the timely reminder. No one else can draw close to God for us. It’s something each person has to do for himself or herself.
So true, Lisa! It is our personal responsibility to draw close to God and seek His face and strength always, especially in our dry places.
Hadassah, thank you for your encouraging post. This helps me to understand the why behind our trials and tribulations.
Thanks so much, Deborah! I am happy that the post encouraged you. Blessings to you!