My friend wrote me about his marriage. "It is a dry season for us," he admitted to me as a confidant. "There has been much stress of late and very little hope of relief in the near future. But we press on. We find our joy in little things. I am thankful for her, and I know she feels secure in my love for her."

There is something wise, deep, and very spiritual about that perspective. It stayed in my mind for days. It lets me know he is the good and decent man I thought him to be. My respect for him has grown from what he saw as a sad confession of a dry season in his marriage. How fortunate is his beloved wife!

Then there was the voicemail from another friend. "Please call as soon as you have time," she said. There was an urgency to her request that I recognized. My fear was that it reflected a struggle that has been going on in her life for almost three years now. So I phoned almost immediately. And she told about the feelings that were tugging at her. The addiction will not turn loose, but she is determined not to be dragged down without a fight. Then she used the term.

"I feel like I am in a dry place with my life," she lamented. "After the divorce, I am so lonely — and vulnerable. I need something to fill the void in my soul. But the closest and easiest things are the ones I know will only make the pain worse. It is so hard not to give in, and I just don't know if I can hold on much longer."

This afternoon, I sat down to think about what might be worth sharing with you. In order to focus my thoughts, I pulled down my much-valued copy of a devotional collection of writings from C.S. Lewis. There, on a page already dog-eared, was this highlighted line: "Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please God best."

Do you hear the recurring theme? My friend's marriage is in a "dry season." Another's personal life feels like "a dry place." Now I read about praying when one's soul is in a "state of dryness." Is it a sign of sorts to a theme worth thinking about? Or is it just the ongoing truth of the human condition? Life is not all fun and games, and relationships — even with God — are hard to maintain. We go dry.

It reveals who we really are!
What one does in those times of dryness reveals who she really is! To use it as the excuse for walking away, giving in, or giving up says one thing. To see it as a time of testing when holy purpose must trump inconsistent feelings and commitment must be put above momentary desire says something very different.

Maybe an ancient writer was experiencing this same testing of faith in a dry season when he wrote these beautiful lines: "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God" (Psalm 42:1).

I hope he survived his dry season and found renewal. I pray as much for you.