Remember the story of Samson (Judges 16)? Part of his vow to God was to not cut his hair. However, the Philistine woman, Delilah, wore him down and he finally told her the secret of his strength. So, in the middle of the night when he was asleep, she cut his hair. And--he lost his strength. He ignored his covenant with God (symbolized by the vow he made regarding his hair) and lost his strength.
Recently, I began a short series about dryness. What does it mean to be dry? How do I move on? I mentioned that during these summer months (105 degrees the other day under this Texas sun), I noticed that the creek behind our house had dried up. In some places it was cracked. I can think of times when such a description fit me. There have been periods of time when I have been dry and didn't even realize it until later. Perhaps you can relate as well.
Whenever I experience a period of dryness, I need to ask at some point, "Have I ignored the covenant I made with God?" Of course, that is not always true. But--I do think the question ought to be asked at some point. In other words, maybe a place to begin is repentance. Maybe I need to take a good look at myself.
Yet, sometimes, this is the last place I might look. Perhaps it is like an alcoholic who sees a number of sources for her problems--except one.
Darryl Tippens, in his fine book Pilgrim Heart, writes:
Our inability to confess our obvious and hidden failures greatly damages our spiritual lives and our credibility. Our witness rings hollow. Our carefully packaged faith that hides faults haunts us and angers others. When things go awry, as they will, it becomes second nature to blame others rather than take responsibility. Thus, Christians can reside in communities where the truth is rarely spoken and where disappointment, bitterness, cynicism, and anger simmer for years. Finally the day comes when the frustration explodes. Nearly everyone is surprised at the intensity of the blow-up. What happened and why?
Often the explosion is the inevitable consequence of Christians not telling the truth of their lives--their hurts over their troubled marriages, the disappointment with parents and children, their sadness and anger over harsh and unfair words spoken at church, the chronic pain of a dysfunctional relationship at work. Mark it down. A Christian who is not confessional is in peril--a danger to himself and to the community (p. 100).
Perhaps during a period of dryness, when the bottom of the creek is parched and cracked, I ought to at least entertain the possibility of my need for confession and repentance. Maybe, like Samson, I have not been attentive to the covenant relationship I have with God. Perhaps I have allowed myself to become worn down by the nagging temptations of the evil one. Now--I have no strength.
Again--perhaps a place to begin is in confessing my sins and failures.