I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. Jeremiah 31:25
One summer in high school I went on a missions trip with a group of other students to the western part of Mexico. It was an incredible experience that completely broadened my horizons and gave me a love for serving others. One aspect of the trip that was fun and memorable was the journey itself. Our group took two 15-passenger vans and drove from West Michigan to Ensenada, Mexico–nearly a 40 hour drive!
I distinctly remember noticing the vast change in landscape as we traveled from the Midwest to the rocky terrain of the Southwest. Lush, green plains and fields were soon replaced with dusty plateaus and caramel-colored sand, speckled with shrubs and cacti. The long ride may have been hot and stuffy, but the view was absolutely breathtaking.
My long trek west makes me think of the condition of our own spiritual landscapes. Is your soul green and vibrant, or does it resemble a dry, barren land in need of water? Do you enjoy the fruit of joy, peace, and contentment, or do you find yourself frazzled, distracted, irritated and defeated? Do you need the Lord to refresh and revive your soul?
I know I do.
We all sometimes need an awakening, a spiritual refreshment and retreat for our weary souls. A spirit that is more alive, revived and refreshed. A soul that is full of health, strength and vigor. Just as David cried out to God in Psalm 63:1,
…my soul thirsts for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
When my soul is in need of a spiritual revival, I think of Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones. This barren valley of lifeless skeletons illustrated the spiritual state of the nation of Israel at the time: dead. But when the breath of God prophesied through the mouth of Ezekiel, tendons, flesh, and skin covered the bones, and the Word of God brought the bones to life as a vast army (Ezekiel 37:11-15).
So how do we find rest and renewal for our souls while in our own barren valleys?
I have observed four “R’s” to spiritual revival:
Remember – Remind yourself of what God’s Word says about who you are on a daily basis. Remember the things that God has done in your life. The way he delivered you from the clutches of the enemy. How he snatched you from the pit of darkness and brought you into his wonderful light. How He provided for your every need and brought you through each trial. Remember that He is God!
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. Psalm 77:11
Recount – Retell, rehearse, and speak the Word of God to your soul. When Ezekiel witnessed the valley of dry bones, God spoke to him:
“Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!” Ezekiel 37:4
In order to bring life and vitality to our own hearts, we must do the same. Speak the Word of God to your soul.
Allow the breath of the Holy Spirit to refresh the barrenness of your broken land. Speak life to yourself and over your situation. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). What we say to others and what we say to ourselves matters. We must speak the life-giving, Spirit-breathed, fresh wind of God to our souls–and watch the dry valleys of our hearts break into streams of living water!
Repent — After Peter and John healed a lame man in Acts 3, Peter addressed the crowd that stood in amazement around them. Peter’s message was simple:
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” Acts 3:19
Did you catch the connection? Spiritual revival and refreshment does not come until we repent from our sins and turn to God. Are there areas in your soul that remain stagnant and lifeless? Have you completely turned that area over to God? Is there hidden sin buried deep within those valleys? Bitterness? Worry? Unforgiveness? Jesus invites us to turn those things over to Him; it’s time to leave it all at the foot of the cross and receive a new wave of refreshment for our souls.
Refresh others — Proverbs 11:25 says it beautifully,
…whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
When we give a cup of cool water to those around us, we refresh others with love and humility. When we step out and meet the needs of others, we no longer wallow in the desert land of our own parched souls, but think of ways to be a blessing to others. When we do this, our valleys no longer look so dry and dreary. God gives us strength and powerful revival when we reach out and refresh others with His flowing fountain of life.
So speak words of hope and healing to your soul today. Clothe yourself in garments of Christ’s revitalizing splendor, and find rest for your soul. You will be revived, renewed and completely refreshed!