Why does the Lord take us through periods of spiritual emptiness? We long for intimacy in worship and the word, but encounter dryness.
This seems to be the experience of the Psalmist in Psalms 42&43 (combined as one).
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
This seems blasphemy to a culture exalting intimacy with God. How could God distance Himself? Yet the Psalmist writes –
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’
When this spiritual emptiness is experienced there are consequences, a rawness to life. One is on edge and brought to the end of natural defences. One is tempted to fill up through satisfaction of physical senses that only scream louder.
In years gone by, the Psalmist may have believed in a ‘technique that worked.’ After gaining intimacy with God through such techniques and then losing it for no apparent reason one gains perspective that God is after more than experiences of wellbeing.
43:3 Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.
The break through comes not from our efforts but from the Lord. The Psalmist calls on the one who seems to have forgotten him, recognising that the Lord’s purpose is as much about character as the experience of His presence.
For greater detail see the study for the whole passage.