Most of us would prefer to hear of new seasons, fresh seasons, seasons of hope, seasons of breakthrough. But what happens if we find ourselves in a season that does not smell like spring, but rather smells and looks more like the dryness of winter, the deadness thereof?
I have found myself in seasons of drought and as unpopular as it may be - it is definitely not the ‘tingling of ears’ message mentioned in 2Tim 4v3- it is in the seasons of drought that roots have to go deeper to get water from a depth, not the easy water that rains down.
Personally I like easy paths, everyone liking me, enough provision and peace, but sometimes I have found myself in seasons where it is quite the opposite. Those seasons are also not once-off, but have come randomly over the years. I have been a Jesus-follower for three decades now and I have chosen not to dwell or count how many seasons I have had that I would call seasons of obscurity, but I have had my fair number of it.
‘Seasons of obscurity’ has become my nickname for what others may call seasons of drought. In those seasons I usually find that I am misunderstood, mistrusted, dishonored, and usually it comes with some kind of financial pressure as well.
Obscurity means ‘the state of being unknown, inconspicuous or unimportant’. It can also mean something that is difficult to understand. So in these seasons of obscurity I have found myself hidden, as if it is difficult to understand my calling or even reason for living. It feels like I walk with a cloud over me - one that hides me from my full purposes in God. One would think that those are the times that others would be able to remind you of those things that God has promised, but I have found that mostly people just seem to overlook me!
I guess over the years I have learnt that those seasons are never in vain and even though there are days that I call out like the Psalmist to say ‘how long Lord’ Ps 13, I can end the prayer with the same end in v5 and v6
But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
If you feel like you might be in a season like this, remember that you are in good company. Joseph, who ended up to be Pharaoh’s right-hand man, ruling a mighty nation, had two major seasons of obscurity by all standards mentioned. Firstly he fell from hero to zero by being thrown in a pit by his own brothers. After recovering and even being restored to the head of Potiphars household, he was once again flung from leader to prisoner in a dungean.
Then there is King David, the king God called because He loved David’s heart.
And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’
I love that scripture as God Himself said David wanted to do ‘all God’s will’.
We even have the heroes of Hebr 11 who some never saw the things they believed for.
If you are going through a season of jail, drought, obscurity or call it what you may, there are some basic things that you can hold onto.
These are the ones I cling to:
First and foremost, not matter how bad I feel I refuse to believe God is anything but a Good Father. I am real and wil cry, sulk and even shout out to God, but I always end off my own Psalm that God is good beyond measure even thought I might not see it at that moment.
Secondly I clean out my heart, I really do some heart-searching and ask God to reveal to me my hidden sins
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
I allow God to show me bitterness and hardheartedness that I might have hidden in busyness. I allow Him to go deeper.
Thirdly I do not shrink back from fellowship. Usually the seasons of obscurity are filled with misunderstandings between me and others, but even then I remain faithful to church, prayer, I basically stay the course. I find those are the times I have to rely the most on the Fruit of the Spirit to maintain friendships, I really have to go deeper. If the season lifts and I feel more of a release, then those friendships actually thrive as I have learnt how to love even when I don’t feel loved.
Once when I really struggled to find hope amidst many problems, God said to me:
Liesl, Hope is a Person and His name is Jesus.
My prayer for you is:
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
May your testimony be that after the seasons of drought, the fruit you bore would be the sweetest of your life up to that point!