Summary: Livin’ Thru The Dry Times. Learn survival lessons and tips.
We have been talking about how to survive the dry times for three weeks. I hope I haven’t preached you into a dry time during this. What I do hope is that you have learned the lessons necessary to make it through the dry times productively. I know some of you have heard these over and over, but for those of you who have missed a week let me quickly restate the lessons before we move on. These lessons are about learning from the wilderness:
Survival Lesson 1: Wilderness is not a location. It is a condition.
Survival Lesson 2: Wilderness is common to everyone.
Survival Lesson 3: If you stay in the wilderness too long you will die there.
Survival Lesson 4: The wilderness keeps our desires from outrunning our development.
Survival Lesson 5: The wilderness teaches us how to truly worship.
Survival Lesson 6: To survive the wilderness you must know where to hide.
Survival Lesson 7: You will receive offers you are expected to refuse.
Survival Lesson 8: The wilderness will produce offspring in you.
Survival Lesson 9: Bitter ain’t bad.
Those are the lessons you must learn. However, today I want us to look a the top 10 survival tips which are more about how to live or make it during the wilderness moments than they are about learning from the wilderness moments.
What does a wilderness moment look like or sound like? David may have the corner on the market of expressing the wilderness experience. Have you ever felt like this?
14I’m a bucket kicked over and spilled,
every joint in my body has been pulled apart.
My heart is a blob
of melted wax in my gut.
15I’m dry as a bone,
my tongue black and swollen.
They have laid me out for burial
in the dirt.
16Now packs of wild dogs come at me;
thugs gang up on me.
They pin me down hand and foot,
17and lock me in a cage—a bag
Of bones in a cage, stared at
by every passerby.
18They take my wallet and the shirt off my back,
and then throw dice for my clothes.
19You, GOD—don’t put off my rescue!
Hurry and help me!
David understood the desert. There will be days, weeks, perhaps even months when you will feel this way. It is normal, but you must do your part to survive during those moments so that you won’t give up. So let’s look at the Top 10 Survival Tips.
III. Survival Tips
Tip #10: Be Prepared
No more excuses for not being prepared. Don’t act surprised or be totally bent out of shape when you end up in a dry time. Why? Because you have been warned that it will happen. So prepare for it. How do you do that? Keep the notes you have taken during this series handy. So that when you enter a dry season you will know what to look for and watch for. You remember the old adage, “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”? This holds true in regards to wilderness times. If you fail to plan for the wilderness times when they come you will fail and fall into depression, bitterness, anger and you will want to give up or make stupid decisions. Say this with me, “I will have a dry season . . . so I better prepare for it.”
Tip #9: Let someone know where you are
One of the common mistakes I see as people are going through dry seasons is that they never let anyone know where they are. They suffer in silence because we are afraid people will judge us as unspiritual if we are dry. Remember I said position/prominence won’t keep you out of the wilderness. It is common to everyone. You are no less spiritual than the next person just because you are dry. However, we must learn to be honest about our condition and quit faking the smile and the dance. We should signal trusted folks that we need prayer, counsel, guarding. This is why you have seen spiritual giants fall. They wouldn’t let anyone know that they were dry. Signal someone! Let them watch for you. The saddest portion of Scripture in the whole Bible is where David says in Psalms 142 – no man cared or watched for my soul. We can’t read your mind and sometimes we can’t read your heart. Signal someone.
Tip #8: Find Shelter
You will remember that we talked about knowing where to hide. This ties into that, but I want to make just a little different statement here. If you watch any survival show on TV one of the most crucial elements for them to be able to endure the wilderness is shelter. They have to have protection against the elements. The same is true for you in your spiritual walk. During a dry season you must have shelter. That is why it is so crucial to be a part of a local church. These are the people who you can signal and who can wrap arms around you and shelter you. We are supposed to have each other’s back! I mention this because it seems to me that most of the people I know who are going through dry times want to pull back from church. Instead we shouldn’t forsake the assembling together we should run to each other for shelter, love, encouragement. People should be able to walk into this place discouraged, find courage and leave encouraged. Don’t let the dry times cause you to be exposed. Look at your neighbor and say I will be a shelter for you. I’ve got your back!